Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You Know What I Love?

The Betty Draper goes to Rome look!

Deneuve Avec Chihuahua

I think the reason why I always think of Catherine Deneuve when I see Ferragamo Vara shoes (and bags) is because of the bows. I feel like Deneuve and bows are forever linked in my mind. In the 1960s she wore bows like no other. If you ever get bored with the internet, nothing is more satisfying than looking at images of Catherine Deneuve. In fact I'll probably be posting a lot more about CD and her sister Francoise Dorleac in the coming days.

Catherine Denueve - Pristine in White

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ferragamo Vara Bags

I did not know that Ferragamo made Vara style purses...this is troubling because now, as much as I want more Vara shoes, I want Vara bags to match. I think I might make this Vara bucket purse my first conquest (when I have money, and my goal of practicality is reached). This bag is really impractical (being white and all) but reminds me of Catherine Denueve in Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Actually Catherine Deneuve in the 1960s in general - a vision in white who never gets dirty.

Cartier Panthere Ring - The Latest in Cartier Panther

Speaking Of On The Cheap

There are tons of these panther bracelets on Ebay. I think they are great, stylish, and CHEAP jewelry for summertime. They hint to the Cartier panther, but are like 13 dollars.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ruminations On Summer Bags

This particular style of Gucci bag is my favorite, I love the contrast of the red and green with the beige logo print. Any of the Gucci bags with this color combination I want. I want. I want. I want. This all started with a trip to Sears the other day on a mission to buy some undershirts. There I found this Lands End canvas tote and it got me thinking about my upcoming trip to France. I thought hey, I really don't have a good summer bag (I really don't). Being a high maintenance person I need with me at all times, food, water, sedatives, etc. Usually I just carry a big tote with me and just let said items slosh around. On a trip, I feel like I should be more prepared. So naturally I thought hmm, Ralph Lauren, my go to for everything. The problem is that the one bag I want is too expensive, but sooooo cool you can buy it through I couldn't find an image of the pink version of this bag, but it is even better than this.

Anyway, so I started searching ebay for Ralph Lauren totes, vintage canvas totes, Burberry totes, it finally escalated to Chanel bucket bags (I deserve it, right?). Anyway I found a super super awesome Fendi canvas tote not too much, but is a tote best for travel? I had had my heart set on totes (because they look and feel summery), but I hadn't really occurred to me that an expensive tote is still a tote. Your pills and bananas and passport are still going to be sloshing around in there. Also, I feel like when you travel you want your hands free a tote you often have to push back onto your shoulder. So I think I'm headed for a vintage Gucci messenger bag. These bags are really useful, aesthetically pleasing, and not very expensive used. Plus I think that their style is timeless and therefore a good value. There, I've just convinced myself. Off to ebay!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cartier Panther

When Marchesa Casati moved into Palais Rose in a posh suburb outside of Paris she didn't have as large a menagerie of animals. Fearing for her safety she had a German toymaker create a lifelike mechanical panther to prowl her home. The idea being that if someone were to break they would think they were in the presence of a wild animal and flee. Anyhow apparently this is how the Cartier company got the idea for their line of panther inspired products.

Marisa Berenson as Luisa Casati

In 1971 Baron Guy de Rothschild held a costume ball celebrating the centenary of Marcel Proust's birth. Marisa Berenson was among the many posh guests and she went as Luisa Casati. Interestingly Marisa Berenson is couturier Elsa Schiaparelli's daughter and Schiaparelli had been an acquaintance of the Marchesa during her time in Paris.


This portrait of Luisa Casati The Quai Venice by Kees van Dongen ca. 1921 was the inspiration behind Norman Norell's Fall 1960 "van Dongen Collection" (Norell also owned the portrait). I posted the below image several months ago before I even knew about Marchesa Casati, kinda neat. I just really love Norell's Mermaid dress and how this shoot was styled and now I know why!

Luisa Casati

Luisa Casati by Alberto Martini ca. 1906 featuring Luisa Casati on one of her night strolls along the Grand Canal in Venice.

La Casati in Crystal Ball Costume

Luisa Casati in 1913 in a couture creation by Paul Poiret.

La Casati in Indo-Persane Costume

Luisa Casati with Paul-Cesar Helleu and Giovanni Boldini (center) in 1913 in the gardens at Palazzo dei Leoni in Venice. No doubt this was a fabulous Far East theme party. The garden had many fragrant flowers to mask the stench of the Grand Canal!

La Casati in Fountain Costume

This fountain ensemble ca. 1920s was designed by couturier Paul Poiret and gives Gaga a run for her money.

Queen of the Night Costume Design

Here is the costume design sketch for Luisa Casati's Queen of the Night costume by Leon Bakst.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Queen of the Night

Marchesa Casati in a costume by Leon Bakst inspired by The Queen of the Night from Mozart's Magic Flute.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

La Marchesa Luisa Casati Con Un Levriero

This painting by Giovanni Boldini presents Marchesa Casati with one of her greyhounds in a couture dress by Paul Poiret.

Marchesa Luisa Casati - Hippe De Luxe

The infamous Luisa Casati is known for her life spent inspiring artists as a muse, patronizing the arts, and making herself a living piece of art through her lavish parties, luxurious lifestyle, and unusual sense of style. Born Luisa Amman 1881 to Italian cotton producers, she was orphaned at a young age and along with her sister became the heirs to a large fortune. She married Marchese Camillo Casati in 1900 and became a Marchesa. Camillo provided the noble title, but Luisa provided the money. Because Luisa had the money she was in control of her trajectory and did what she pleased with her fortune while her husband focused on his own interests. The couple had one child who they sent away to school (Cristina Casati is an interesting character herself), and pretty much ran separate lives.

La Casati's eccentricities began when she started an affair with Gabriele D'Annunzio who nourished her interests in the exotic and macabre. Although she had a husband and numerous lovers, she was very independent and spent a lot of time traveling. She had houses in many locations (such as Capri, Rome, and Paris), but one of her favorite places and homes early on was in Venice. At Palazzo dei Leoni on the grand canal in Venice (which she rented), she had a garden and a menagerie of wildlife. There were albino blackbirds who could be dyed for special events, a white peacock who perched in the window off the grand canal, a set of greyhounds (one black and one white), and cheetahs. At night on a walk or in her all white gondola with her African gondolier, she would create a striking scene with her long lanky body barely covered by sheer material with her animals on diamond leashes. Everywhere she went, she traveled with animals, animal furs, and luxurious exotic trinkets to transform any location to her aesthetic pleasure.

Her clothing was commission by the likes of couturier Paul Poiret, to Leon Bakst the costume designer for Le Ballet Russe. Luisa had a new one of a kind costume for every event meant to be worn only once. She also had day wear designed for her and her specific lifestyle of lounging, walking wild animals, and socializing. Even though eventually Marchesa Casati breezed through her money and was dirt poor, she still retained elegance and a quality of magic in her life. This too says something about the nature of style and imagination or perhaps maybe just eccentricity. I like to think that it takes a lot more than money to create a magical life.

There is obviously a lot more to say about this intriguing woman, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around her unwavering dedication to aesthetics. I just got finished reading and pouring over the book "The Marchesa Casati: Portraits of a Muse" by Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino and it is exceptional and I would highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in an unusual life story. Anyhow since I am most interested La Casati's sense of style in terms of being an early hippie de luxe, bon vivant, etc., over the next few days I will be putting up costume design sketches, photographs and paintings capturing her unique style.

More Dior

These rings are out of control, when I see these I imagine sunning on my private Greek isle in a sheer caftan while a eunuch fans me and I feed my cheetah raw meat while holding his diamond leash. This little fantasy is leading somewhere, it is the introduction to a post in the works.

Heartbreakers - Spring/Summer Jewels

Here we have some rings from the Dior "Incroyable and Merveilleuses" jewelry collection, these would be my choice in spring/summer jewelry if, well...if things in my life were completely different!