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Fashion Muse – Marchesa Casati – Cathy March 3, 2010

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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.”


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.”

A Mango a Day aka Philippine Bliss – Cathy February 19, 2010

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I’m back. =)

I adore the Philippines. I love the tropical fruit available year-round. I love the 90 degree weather in January. I love that it’s where my family is from. I love all the fresh seafood and lechon at every meal.

I miss it.

I traveled to Manila, Cebu, and Bohol with my family and boyfriend for my mom’s side reunion. I don’t think people think of the Philippines and associate it with malls, but that’s a huge part of the culture. Malls are everywhere and huge. For example the SM Mall of Asia is the second largest in the Philippines and the fourth largest in the world at 4.2 million square feet. We’re talking good shops too – Topshop, Aldos, H&M, Bench, etc. It’s a hot country and the malls are a great place for people to go during the day and convene. I definitely stocked up on Topshop. If you’re curious, the current fashion on the streets of Manila are color-filled with lots of sandals that come over the ankle. You can get tons of these type of sandals for under US$20.

ClosetCat: Philippine Sandal Example

fun headpieces for nights out,

ClosetCat: Manila Style example

and back-baring or shoulder emphasizing club tops (this Topshop dress below has both, though you can’t see the back).

ClosetCat: Philippine Nightlife Style

But generally it’s a shorts and tee place (mainly because of the heat). Remarkably, most all schools still have strict uniform policies, so on any given day you’ll see hordes of young men and women in their school uniform. This is typically a long pleated skirt to mid-calf or trousers with a tucked in white button up.

ClosetCat: Philippine Style: School Uniform

Cebu produces the best mangoes in the world. We toured and relaxed – massages, swimming all day, and drinks from the swim-up-bar.

And Bohol is home of the smallest monkey in the world – the tarsier. I think it’s ugly-cute. Like a pug. There’s also the Chocolate Hills that are an endless horizon filled with cute-dainty hills. In the fall they dry up and all turn brown as if it’s a field of chocolate kisses laid out neatly waiting to melt.

We also went to Pagsanjan Falls, I blogged about it pre-trip. You couple up in canoes that two men (one in the front and one in the back) paddle you upstream in. They paddle until they get to a rapids area (there are around 20), where they have one foot inside the canoe and one out literally pushing off the rocks to propel forward. At the end of the rapids (about 1 hour) is a waterfall that you transfer on to a bamboo raft with others where two other men pull you under the waterfall via a thick rope connected to the cave wall beyond the waterfall. It’s a fabulous time where you take in the serene rainforest type scenery and then get pummelled by a waterfall who’s facade looks like a drinking goat. – check it out below. Just beautiful. The best part is on the way back to the city, we buy local buko (young coconut) pie for about US$3. Heavenly.

More posts soon on my necklace finds for the ClosetCat shop.

ClosetCat: Filipino Fruits

ClosetCat: Allan and Me in front of the Chocolate Hills

ClosetCat: Church Candles

ClosetCat: Pagsanjan Falls

ClosetCat: Do you see the goat drinking water?

ClosetCat: Sunrise in Bohol

Clothes Inspiration – Cathy November 13, 2009

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I came upon this lovely blogger, Caroline Hill, that has a section called Room/Outfit. She illustrates outfits inspired by rooms she sees. I love the recent one she posted, it feels so homey, lovely, and spot on. You really can find inspiration for anything anywhere. So instead of just turning to fashion magazines for a direct clothing to clothing inspiration, translate your fashion fancies by checking Architecture Digest, Travel + Leisure, or even Cat Fancy. … Maybe not Cat Fancy. =)

Caroline Hill Clothing Illustration/><br /> </a></p> <p><a href=

Caroline Hill Room Inspiration=

Charming Gift Guide – Cathy October 16, 2009

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I adore charm bracelets. The idea of having a piece of jewelry that grows with you is just marvelous. I got my charm bracelet from my mom right before I went to study abroad in Florence during University. She gave it to me with a Golden Gate bridge charm (we’re from the Bay Area) because that would be the starting point of all my future trips. So inspirational. It symbolized my growth, my spirit for travel, and a loving relationship. And that’s what is so great about a charm bracelet, it can mean so many different things.

So the goal for mine was to add a silver charm for every spot we traveled to since Florence. It didn’t pan out perfectly as they have NO silver charms in Prague. They’re well known for gold and that was the only thing I could find. C’est la vie. I still adore it.

It is a wonderfully classic gift to give. It’d be perfect for a college graduate, a daughter, a girlfriend, a best friend, anyone.

Some beautiful starting ones are: