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What might a room full of famous fashion photographers, celebs and coffee connoisseurs be doing in Milan? Celebrating Lavazza’s 20th anniversary calendar for 2012, of course.

Last week we hop-footed it to Italy’s style capital to laud Lavazza’s 20 years of cult calendars with the launch of an exclusive exhibition, showcasing some of the company’s most iconic photographs from the last two decades.

And with a room full of beautiful people – that’s everyone from famous Italian footballer Alessandro Del Piero to the legendary model-turned-actress Amber Smith and new girl Valerie van der Graaf – we shared an evening of unrivalled glitz, glamour and gorging (on tasty foodie treats).

A bus ride to the Triennale, Milan’s must-see design exhibition, might not sound like the glossiest start to an evening promising the finest Italian schmooze, but a red carpet and champagne on arrival certainly set the style for the evening (and hey, they weren’t any old buses, y’know).

After a spot of mingling and munching canapes – mini cheese on toast? Um, yeah! – we headed into the theatre for an introduction from Francessa Lavazza, the insanely glam, always charming creative director of the coffee company, who acquainted us with The Lavazzers, this year’s calendar’s contributors who have helped shape its success and status during the last two decades.

And a quick walk around the exhibition shows us why. From David LaChapelle’s overtly sexed-up campaigns to Mark Seliger’s story of romance, these world-renowned photographers have travelled and explored a seductive relationship with life and coffee. A retrospective and celebration of years past, yes, but it’s also an exciting look to the future with the 2012 calendar.

And so, as Valerie van der Graaf blew out the candles on Lavazza’s birthday cake and the event space opened its doors to Milan’s most fashionable, we danced, we drank (a little too much, but those espresso cocktails are deliciously leathal) and we rose a glass, to The Lavazzers and, perhaps more importantly, to Lavazza.

The Lavazza exhibition is running at Milan’s La Triennal until November 9 – we highly recommend paying a visit if you’re passing.

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