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Fashion Muse – Marchesa Casati – Cathy March 3, 2010

Posted by ClosetCat in Cathy.
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Decadent. Extreme. Exotic. Inspiring. Frightening. But in a good way…

Marchesa Casati was a woman who knew no boundaries, and was intimidated by nothing. She lived from 1881-1957, and her life journey would still be characterized as crazy or extreme in today’s setting. Seemingly, everything from her stunning appearance to her lavish lifestyle was intense.

“Her appearance made her a legend throughout the continent. She was tall and thin. A thick blaze of flame-coloured hair crowned her pale, almost cadaverously white face with its sensually vermilioned lips. Above all, however, the Marchesa’s large green eyes cast the strongest spell of her unique beauty.” -http://www.marchesacasati.com/bio.html

She’s most notorious for gilding her male servants, wearing snakes as jewelry, and having wax mannequins seated at her dinner table as guests. Though her crazy antics are what catch your attention, we can’t let this discredit her amazing patronage of the arts.

“Many of their careers first obtained recognition through her generous patronage, and this often included a valuable friendship or romantic affair. Casati’s tireless pursuit of the vanguard in everything would allow her to satisfy an endless yearning for novel experiences and fresh audiences. So while many bejewelled but less inventive doyennes of the Belle Époque eventually found themselves trapped within a dead age, the Marchesa explored the newest and most radical artistic terrains of the early twentieth century.”

-http://www.marchesacasati.com/bio.html

She domesticated monkeys and snakes, and was well-known for walking her pet cheetah on a diamond-studded leash around town. She took on male and female lovers alike, and has endlessly inspired notable artists throughout history – Coco Chanel, Dali, Man Ray, Dita Von Teese, Cartier (ring from Panther collection below), and Jack Kerouac among many others.

Dita Von Teese said to Venus Zine:

““I am always inspired by eccentric women like The Marchesa Casati, Anna Piaggi, and Isabella Blow,” she says. “I love courageous women of style, women who didn’t care what people said about the way they dressed or wore their makeup.”

Her epic life, and accompanying wardrobe, has inspired many throughout history. With her lure living on (even to the most recent 2010 Chanel resort collection – photo above), you would never have guessed she died penniless in London. As her gravestone quotes Shakespeare, “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.”

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Comments»

1. daisychain - March 4, 2010

What an incredible woman.


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