Sunday, August 22, 2010

♥ Marchesa Luisa Casati ♥


Art books are easily one of the things I love the most in the world. It's quite hard for me to resist buying a big book in glossy paper filled with wonderful pieces of art and photographs. I've gone to extreme (insane) lengths just to get a book I covet. No matter how heavy or how much time I have to wait, I keep a list of all the books I wish to own one day and I'm quite staunch about finding them.

I've been pining after this book for quite some time and finally was able to find it in a wonderful library (http://galignani.com/) on Rue de Rivoli in Paris. The sale clerks were truly atrocious but as I stated before, no fancy boy with an almighty attitude will ever stop me from getting what I want. I digged and I found my treasure.

The pleasure this book has brought me could only be compared with my love for a very cold glass of Rosé champagne or my obsession with perfume & kisses in the dark, it's truly that marvelous!

Luisa Casati was a XIX century italian aristocrat, she was terribly excentric and had a flair for drama that very few personalities in history have had before. She was a heiress to an insanely large fortune at a very early age and spent most of her adult life being a patroness of the arts and throwing lavish parties to her high societry entourage. She was obsessed with becoming "a living work of art" and served this goal by being a muse and comisioning numerous portraits, sculptures, wax dolls amongst other manifestation of art from some of the most famous and sometimes obscure artist of the century. She was a recognized femme fatale & lover to Gabriel D'Annunzio and to Giovanni Boldini amongst others. She comisioned couture dresses from Worth, Poiret & León Bakst. She was inspiration to Diaghilev's Ballet Russes and threw outragious parties inspired by ocultism and witchcraft.

Her signature look was known to many; pale deadly face, absurdly large kohled eyes, burgundy lipstick and belladonna drops to make her pupils look dilatated. Her hair was fire red and quite frequently she wore snakes and spiders as living jewelry. She was known for being a lover of animals and was often seen walking her cheetahs and monkeys with diamond encrusted collars around the piazzas. Her lifestyle was rather nomadic, she rented houses wherever she went yet always assured to decorate them in her unique style. She had a palazzo in Rome all decorated in pink marble. Money was never an obstacle while persuing a dream.

By the end of the 1930's she was absolutely broke & had to action all of her art collection, including most of the portraits to which she served as muse. Even after she lost all her fortune, she continued to be an excentric lady, who kept seven pekingese dogs and always wore the large circles of kohl around her deep wonderful eyes until her dying day.

The book also includes a marvelous section with photographs and references to all the modern things that have been inspired by the grand Marchesa Luisa Casati

I devoured the book in less than a week and is absolutely a must-read to all the lovers of the arts and of the excentric!

for more go to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luisa_Casati
http://www.marchesacasati.com/




Luisa Casati in venetian lace


Marchesa Luisa Casati painted by Giovanni Boldini



The Marchesa with one of her cheetahs


the Marchesa wearing an Indo-Person costume designed by León Bakst



Painting of Luisa Casati by Kees Van Dongen



Man Ray's portraits of the Marchesa


The Marchesa with her signature dramatic eye make up and one of her pet boas!


John Galliano's designs inspired by the Marchesa


One of my favorite quotes from the Marchesa Casati


Carine Roitfeld photographed by Karl Lagerfeld as the Marchesa Casati!


Georgina Chapman (half of the wonderful dramatic and barroque label Marchesa) embodying the Marchesa Luisa Casati

Please, go and buy this book;
it's truly amazing and you will not regret it!

xo
c*

8 comments:

The Casati Archives said...

Many thanks for your generous appreciation of our book on the amazing Marchesa Casati.

Sincerely yours,

Scot D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino / The Marchesa Casati

c* said...

oh I'm so glad you read my comment on the book! it truly means the world as I deeply enjoyed your writing and the compilation of images and found it to be an incredible resource on the marvelous Marchesa Casati!

Again, thank you very much!

c*

Drucilla Pettibone said...

my heart is still beating so fast from reading this post! i covet this book. photos of her are not easy to find, and so i savored this post like a delicacy..

she is *SO* inspired.

xo!

c* said...

oh darling Drucilla I'm so glad you feel this way! I enjoyed this book so so much that I just had to share it with the world!
You must get your pretty little hands on it! you'll love it!

xoxo
c*

Daniel-Halifax said...

I've been coveting this book for a while as well! I must put it higher on my long list of books to purchase!

c* said...

oh you really must! it's a dream! and a treasure to have!

xo
c*

Sara B. said...

i'm having a very hard time finding that one here in Toronto! i could buy it from amazon...but it's not the same is it? *sigh*

c* said...

Oh Sara, you must get your little pale hands all over this. It has your name written right inside!

xo
c*