For the first three decades of the twentieth century, the Marchesa Luisa Casati astounded Europe. She was infamous for her evening strolls—naked beneath her furs, parading cheetahs on diamond-studded leashes.
Artists such as Man Ray and Augustus John painted, sculpted, and photographed her; writers, including Jean Cocteau, Ezra Pound, and Jack Kerouac, praised her strange beauty; celebrities and royalty from around the world were amazed and awed by her lavish parties and spectacles at her homes in Italy and France. The extravagance ended in 1930 when Casati was more than twenty-five million dollars in debt, but she continued her iconoclastic and creative pursuits until her death in London in 1957. Her legacy continues, especially in contemporary fashion, with John Galliano, Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, and other designers inspired by her remarkable style. Fully authorized, completely updated, and richly illustrated, this is the fantastic story of the Marchesa Casati.