11.12.09

Thou Art the Muse of Muses.

I have decided that the word MUSE is chucked about rather flippantly these days. Do you agree?
Well I tripped over my own amazement when I read about the most remarkable woman in a copy of A Child of A Jago’s free mag. I now feel compelled to tell you all about her.

Grab a cuppa and get cosy for story time has come around again at Worship at the House of Blues.

Marchesa Luisa Casati

Behind those dark kohl smudged eyes, that vermilion lipstick and her lithe haunting image lays a curious tale of a fascinating woman known as Marchesa Luisa Casati. Born in Milan into a wealthy family, she gained her title by marrying into aristocracy.

Casati became known throughout Europe for her flamboyant and bizarre eccentricities, never ceasing to wow and fascinate all that knew of her. For three decades she astounded and influenced artists, poets and writers. In fact she is one of the most artistically represented women in history.

WHY??

Well, this is the juiciest part of the tale! I need you to kick your imagination in gear OK? Prepare to be stunned:
Picture this……

A woman, naked under her lavish fur coats, promenading down Venice’s streets after midnight. What was she doing? Why walking her cheetahs of course! Upon diamond studded leashes nonetheless.

Picture this…..

Her dining table lay host to silent wax mannequins rumoured to be crafted in the likeness of past lovers.

Picture this…..

A woman dripping with Lalique designed jewels on one occasion. Ok not sooooo rare but not every woman had directly influenced Cartier!! Yes my dears Casati was the true influence behind the famous panther design.

Picture this……

A woman who wore live snakes as jewellery……..(not something I would hope to replicate!)

Picture this…….

A woman attended by naked male servants painted gold.

Picture this ……..

Decadent masked balls in one of her palaces where you might catch a glimpse of her wearing a stole of a freshly killed chicken or you may take a walk in her walled garden to visit her menagerie where you may be subject to a shower of abuse from her verbose parrot. Or perhaps meet her albino crows, boa or ocelot.

IS YOUR MIND BUZZING WITH DELIGHT YET?

And aside from all her outrageous behaviour she was a patron to the arts. She commissioned hundreds of works of her own image. Vanity? Undoubtedly! But also fuelled by her wish for immortality……to be remembered. How could we forget!

THE PRICE

Her rampant opulence and outlandish lifestyle accumulated a hefty debt of $25 million. Her estates and personal possessions were auctioned off to appease her debtors. Rumour would have us believe that Coco Chanel was among the bidders. Nevertheless after all was lost and gone Marchesa Luisa Casati fled to London where we lived a meagre lifestyle of a comparatively humble existence.

STILL FABULOUS

It is rumoured that she was seen on more than one occasion rummaging through rubbish on a hunt for feathers and other pretty fings to decorate her hair and hats with.

I hear that she lived 32 Beaufort Gardens, South London where she past away on the 1st June 1957. She was buried wearing her black and leopard skin finery, false lashes and one of her taxidermy Pekinese dogs. Her grave is in London and her gravestone aptly reads from Shakespeare:

“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.”

Casati has left her influence on the world of fashion and art and has had Lagerfeld, Gallliano, Dior and many many others citing her in their work.

Marchesa Luisa Casati, is my muse for her devotion to creativity, for her originality, for her boldness. Each time I read about her I find yet another reason to be amazed. Secretly, when I hear her story, I feel a little braver in letting out my eccentricities….

I have heard that her grave is difficult to find. But yet I feel the urge to seek it out……….

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful piece on this remarkable woman! We are always thrilled to hear that she has touched and inspired new generations. For more juicy details read our full-length biography of La Casati "Infinite Variety: The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati" or wallow in the luxury of our new hardcover coffee-table volume, "The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse" that was just published and which contains more than 200 images of the divine Luisa, some never before seen! Visit www.marchesacasati.com for everything!

    Scot D. Ryersson & Michael Orlando Yaccarino
    Directors, The Casati Archives

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  2. Sounds like she was an amazing woman. What an exciting life she must have led!

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  3. Her story is fantastic and it reminds me a lot of your jewellery! What a fantastic muse!

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  4. ooer, what a fantastic piece of history. =)
    I can see where your amazing pieces come from. Gotta love decadance. =)

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  5. the silent one...11 December 2009 at 19:30

    yes, my mind is most definitely buzzing with delight! absolutely loverly!!

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  6. I can see why she's your muse!

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  7. Wow what a fascinating story! It inspires me to be more original :)

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  8. Girl, you know how to write a story...the anticipation you build up is fabulous.

    I would absolutely wear snakes as they are incredibly sensual and lovely to the skin (the boyfriend has two of them), only they should not look better than me (ha ha, they always are...pretty snakes with their glossy skin)

    Oh, and I am totally picturing the gold-painted hot male models that would serve her within a wink...ohhhh.

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  9. That is an amazing story about a truely amazing woman! Whooo to be that opulent and unique! *sigh* A woman who truely walked to her own tune till the very end! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    (yea I wouldn't do the snake either! LOL!)

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  10. Wow, what a tale! I love the first painting of her too - I can totally picture her in all the scenes! (Though freshly killed chicken stole... wtf..o____O;;;)

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  11. I'm loving today's storytime, What a flamboyant lifestyle this lady led.

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  12. i love this post ! she seems worthy of the name muse. i like her strutting around naked in furs ! must be cozy, with sexy leopards blinged out by her side. and the painted gold male servants! im so jealous

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  13. You should definitely pay a visit to her grave. Last weekend, Minh (my bf) and his little sister decided to venture out to Lakeview, [Seattle] Washington to pay our respects to Bruce Lee. We had no idea where his tomb was, we just knew it was in Lakeview Cemetery & followed our GPS there.

    We got there at around 3:40pm (still a bit light out), Luckily for us, the cemetery closed it gates at 4:30pm. So we drove in slowly looking around, and notice how old this place was! There were grave there from the 1800's.

    We had no idea where to start, but luckily security turned their lights on and drove behind us, pulled up and ask if we needed any help. Then he had us following is security vehicle right to Bruce Lee & Brandon Bruce Lee's grave. It was such an amazing experience to be so close to one of the greatest names of all time.

    I high encourage you to seek out Marchesa if you get the opportunity. I dunno why but I felt really at ease and at peace with the world when I visited him.

    It wasn't even a planned trip, Minh's sister just said..hey lets go visit Bruce Lee since she knew his finally resting place was in Seattle.

    Definitely cool!

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  14. Wow, I'd never heard of her before, she sounded like an incredible woman. If only there were still her sort around, it would be much more interesting that randoms going round being papped without their knickers on/very drunk and all that nonsense.

    I had to wikipedia her after I read this. Unfortunately though, it didn't have much more information than what you offered.

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