Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Savoir Faire with The Marchesa

I have just picked up from the Library a copy of Infinite Variety, the definitive biography of the Marchesa Luisa Casati! Previously I had done a posting on this remarkable woman which merely scratched the surface of the great savoir faire that she possessed. Long dead and buried she is still a constant source of inspiration for couturiers and artists alike.

I like biographies with pictures and this one doesn’t disappoint. However what does surprise me is the fact for such a woman who was one of the most painted and photographed of her time, little pictorial evidence exists (same can be said for Misia Sert). As most of you know I love to illustrate my posts, and was continually frustrated in my search of images of these two remarkable women to use.

However do not despair! I have found a photograph of the Marchesa taken around 1940, after she had lost all her considerable wealth and was living in London almost penniless. For someone on reduced circumstances she displays a remarkable presence and savoir faire.

I also can’t resist using the below image of Marisa Berenson (Schiaparelli’s granddaughter) dressed as Casati in the late 60’s. Kudos to Ms. Berenson for capturing the spirit perfectly.

Cant wait to read the biography and am saving it for Italy, so I can get in the true spirit of things!


  1. You are going to love it! One of my favorite biographies. Oh, how I would love to trail a leopard behind me at my next party! I do have the hounds, but a leopard is just so damn glam!

  2. "Biographies with images" ... .
    a big thumbs up: especially when they're as enchanting as these photos!

  3. oh my! I read this a few years ago myself.

  4. Judith- Just found out there is a new pictoral biography to be released in October "Portraits of a Muse" composed mainly of pictures! Cannot wait.

    Jill- put some spots on your hounds and pretend!

    Jason- have just started and am enthralled

  5. We don't just have Molyneux in common, but an enduring interest in La Marchesa as well! :)

    Seeing Man Ray's striking portraits of her hugely affected me as an impressionable--and hugely affected!--nineteen-year-old, so when I found Infinite Variety at my local library several years ago, I snatched it up immediatement; I need to read it again, but I do recall coming away from it with great sadness that her life hadn't gone better for her--though knowing what an indomitable fiery spirit she had, I'm sure she wouldn't want anyone to feel bad for her! Only to admire her I most certainly do. :)


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