“I want to be a living work of art”

Marchesa Luisa Casati 1881-1957
Luisa Casati's eccentric and adventurous style made her the most dramatic, glorious and artistically represented woman of the early 20th century. She wore live snakes as jewelry, donned her pet cheetahs in diamond collars, kept exotic pet monkeys in her mansions and attired her otherwise nude servants in gold gilt. She wore fake lashes, bright red hair and dressed herself in exquisite clothing by Erté and Fortuny. Her visage was captured by artists, such as, Giovanni Boldini, Augustus John, Man Ray, and Cecil Beaton, and was the inspiration of writers. Her outrageous tastes in art, décor, pets and lovers made her a living legend, but by 1930 she was $25 million in debt and her belongs were auctioned off; Coco Chanel among the bidders. She died in poverty, but is rumored to have kept feathers in her hair (found in dumpsters) until the end.