When I read about the Marchesa Luisa Casati, the eccentric Italian socialite whose life and legacy are the inspiration for Georgina Chapman’s line “Marchesa”, I went absolutely nuts for her. Here was a woman who took her life’s motto very seriously indeed – I want to be a living work of art, said she and so she was. She wore couture everywhere, even when walking her greyhounds and dalmatians; she commissioned paintings and sculptures to ensure her immortality… even when the money ran dry, she was rumoured to be seen rummaging through rubbish bins in the streets of London, looking for feathers to decorate her hair.

My favourite part is the inscription on her gravestone in Brompton Cemetery (which I must visit one day) it reads:

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

from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra

One of my friends summed her up quite nicely – Carrie Bradshaw on speed.


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