Luisa Casati, The First Dark Lady

 I’ve always been a passionate supporter of the fact that fashion is to be considered an art form, exactly like photography or painting, it is a way in which one can express his idea of beauty and his own aesthetic. But there is more in my opinion, fashion is a two sided form of art: the stylist, the creator – as the painter or the film maker – is the channel through which the form of art comes to life, but there is another channel which is the user, who, as a blank space, is the vehicle of the art, is the mean by which the art can express itself, and this person is often called a “fashion muse”.

01_marisa-berenson-dressed-as-the-marchesa-luisa-casati-stampa-at-the-rothschild-ball_1_jpg_1318511713                   MarchesaLuisaCasati

I also am a strong believer that fashion is a democratic form of art, it is for everyone, just like pop culture, it is commercial and popular enough for almost everyone to be a fashion muse. But I have to admit, even if I think that everyone has a personal style and can make a fashion statement on their own, that there are, and most importantly, there were some people who excelled in this form of art.

Luisa Casati 2

And today I want to talk about, or even just show you, a great fashion muse from the past, one who you’ve probably never heard before, even though she was and still is a great inspiration for many contemporary and very appreciated fashion designer. I’m talking about, Luisa Casati.

Born and raised in the artistic ambient in 1900 in Italy, she was a muse and a lover for one of the most famous Italian poets of the time, Gabriele D’Annunzio, who was also greatly known for his eccentric and decadent way of life and for his various love affairs.


She would soon turn from a shy and educated little girl into a sparkling and vibrant muse for numerous artists and designers, such as Giovanni Boldini and Léon Bakst, who would design her incredible dresses and gowns.



She had a very dark and artistic sense of fashion, an incredible taste which combined unsettling aesthetic with a strong, visible love for art even in her way of dressing.
Her eccentric and eclectic taste in fashion had an incredibly modern and contemporary twist and she herself ended up becoming Jhon Galliano‘s muse while he worked for Dior. He dedicated an entire amazing, vibrant and iconic collection to Luisa Casati.


As I found out more about Luisa Casati, I immediately fell in love with her sense of style and fashion, so dark, so inspirational and so contemporary even after a hundred years. I could not resist to write and article about her. This amazing, iconic person was the living proof of a theory which is very important to me: fashion is a form of art. I will never stop thinking and saying this to whomever still thinks it is a waste of money or just a faceless and heartless industry based on profit.
Luisa Casati was a true muse, a great woman with an eccentric and artsy life who lived in an era of great painters, poets and writers and she herself was an artist in the way she appeared, in the way she looked and lived, she was a living form of art.


John Galliano per Dior- la marchesa Luisa Casati

Luisa Casati became one of my fashion inspirations and made me want to discover more about the great women who became the living blank canvas on whom designers and artists created amazing masterpieces with their art, with that very special form of art that is fashion.
Please go ahead and read, search and find out more about this incredible lady, the patroness of futurism and a very, true style icon.


Also I would like to deeply thank and virtually hug my lovely friend Valeria for talking to me about this amazing figure and for supporting my sometimes not very popular thesis of fashion being a form of art – I most definitely would like to come back on this idea if you guys like it – oh and obviously for helping me with this article, this work is specially dedicated to her.

Lisa Cantore


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Silvia Maria Rosi says:

    bellissimo pezzo, donna interessante e non così nota. Grazie


    1. lisacantore says:

      Grazie mille a te! Buona giornata!


  2. Really enjoyed going through your post! Very interesting and stylish too! Keep it up! Come and check out my blog if you get the chance, I recently posted my take on PFW, let me know what your think?
    Keep blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just so you know, the top two images are not of the Marchesa Casati. The one on the left is actress/model Marisa Berenson dressed as the Marchesa for the Proust Ball in 1971, taken by Cecil Beaton. The one on the right with the woman dining with a cheetah is from a 1960’s fashion shoot by Leombruno-Bodi; the Marchesa died at the age of 76 in 1957.


    1. lisacantore says:

      We know! But they are both inspired by her figure as she was and still is a fashion icon and a muse, which is the point of the article!
      Thank you for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

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