"I want to be a living work of art."--
The Marchesa Luisa Casati
During the first half of the twentieth century, the Marchesa Luisa Casati (1881-1957) was Europe's most notorious celebrity. Her extravagant lifestyle, eccentric personality, and scandalous escapades captivated and inspired some of the most influential artists of her time. She was painted by Boldini and Augustus John, sketched by Drian and Alastair, and photographed by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, among others. Jean Cocteau praised her strange beauty; Jack Kerouac dedicated poems to her; Fortuny, Poiret, and Erte dressed her. She continues to inspire top designers today, including John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld.
The Marchesa Casati is a visual biography, telling Casati's captivating life story alongside the art and designs she has inspired, featuring 200 images covering her lifetime and beyond. Personal family momentos, paintings, sculptures, and photographs, some never before seen, illustrate the artistic and cultural legacy she left behind. Runway images, sketches, and advertorials show her continuing impact on the present-day fashion community.
"The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse explores Casati's heart and soul. It's a wonderfully complete portrait of a style icon, during her life and afterward, lavishly illustrated with more than 200 images, including personal mementos, and the art and designs she has inspired even today."
–Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times, September 13, 2009
"The story of the Marchesa Luisa Casati's life resembles a fable for our times. Ryersson and Yaccarino present a compelling collection of images to tell the story of Italy's richest heiress at turn of the last century, whose married aristocratic life and progeny were cast aside to indulge in a dramatically theatrical existence...She emerges a heroine, living the fantasy, all the way to the end."
"With incredible passion for the Marchesa Casati, Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino have worked tirelessly to create a stunning homage and a visual biography to this legendary woman who continues to inspire fashion and style." --Diane von Furstenberg