The Hendrick’s Lecture Series

An heiress, a muse and a fashion legend Luisa Casati dazzled everyone she met and shocked turn-of-the-century Europe.  She wore live snakes as jewellery and was infamous for her evening strolls; naked beneath her furs whilst parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leads.  Nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her.  Bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table, some of them rumoured to contain the ashes of past lovers. Everywhere she went, she set trends, inspired genius and astounded even the most jaded members of the international aristocracy.  Without question, the Marchesa Casati was the most scandalous woman of her day.

For the first half of the twentieth century, Marchesa Luisa Casati was the brightest star in European society.  A true fashion legend, she was possibly the most artistically represented woman after Cleopatra and the Virgin Mary and the portraits, sculptures and photographs of her could fill a gallery.  Her extravagant lifestyle, eccentric personality and scandalous escapades captivated and inspired some of the most influential artists of the time, whose careers she helped enormously in her lifetime and beyond.