Working from her studio on Via Lorenteggio, on Milan’s southwest fringes, she and her assistant spent 80 hours cutting, assembling and sewing the 11½-by-8-foot tapestry. The first step was to “put all the fabric on the floor” and start drawing. “When I’m making a piece, I close my eyes and the ideas come to me,” she said. She decided to mix high-end textiles (the lush silk and velvet were provided by the Italian fabric house Dedar) with end-of-roll scraps found at local fabric stores, using vinyl for the creatures’ glinting eyes and sporty stretch jersey for the trees in the background. Her knack for color was also apparent: The lake in the tableau consisted of an iridescent blue silk, while the mountains were rendered with pink velvet but for their turquoise peaks.
The sculptures included a four-legged seashell roughly the size of a beagle and a four-foot-tall Cyclops painted a lurid purple. A pink shark-crocodile hybrid floated in the villa’s pool, in the shadow of a boat that had sprouted bird legs and peered from dry land over the water’s edge. To make these works, Veronesi built models out of clay and brought them to Cameron Eccles, a set designer and the owner of A Construction Production in London, where they were 3-D-printed; later, she hand-painted them in her customarily vibrant palette. (Driving the fragile prototypes across the French border on her way to England, a journey she took to avoid mailing them, proved to be a challenge. “I was accused of being a very famous drug dealer,” she said. “So they smashed up two of them to make sure there wasn’t any cocaine inside.” Luckily, she had time to remake them.)
Smaller works — a pink-tailed mermaid with fangs and paws, an intertwined pair of anthropomorphic roses — rested on plinths set along the stone path or clustered beneath a crystal chandelier on the table in Villa Necchi’s extravagant dining room. Snacks, many of them pink, were passed around on wooden trays: Gallipoli prawns with cocktail sauce; pink ravioli with wild herbs; lollipop arancini with beet salad; sugary raspberry mignons; sparkling Franciacorta rosé; and a pink lady cocktail made with gin, triple sec and grenadine. This, too, was part of the artist’s vision, as she felt that the food, like the art, should endeavor to spark joy.
Once the sun had set and the party was in full swing, Delavan addressed the crowd, which also included the product designer Sabine Marcelis, the architect Sophie Dries and the design studio Formafantasma’s Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, to thank them for coming and announce a portion of the entertainment for the night: an interactive egg hunt devised by Veronesi, in which guests were invited to snatch up one of 70 hand-painted eggs that were, at that moment, being placed around the garden. Each egg featured a pink or blue illustration that matched the creatures Veronesi had painted across the wooden bars where guests lined up for cocktails and, when opened, revealed a miniature version of one of the sculptures that occupied the grounds. Ten of them contained an extra surprise: a note informing the finder they had won a gift, whether a tour of Franciacorta’s vineyards an hour east of Milan; a Gio Ponti monograph, published by Taschen and provided by Molteni & C; a pink marble tabletop objet from Living Divani; or a pink silk Armani bandanna. But gift or no gift, the eggs seemed to impart good fortune. “I like their symbolism,” said Veronesi. “They’re seeds for a new world.”