The original flame haired superstar was not Rihanna but the Marchesa Casati. La Casati wore necklaces of live snakes, walked a cheetah on a diamond studded leash and put droplets of the poisonous belladonna in her kohl lined green eyes so they would glitter like emeralds.
The Marchesa Casati was painted by Boldini
Photographed by Man Ray
And portrayed with her cheetahs
When I saw the Chanel haute couture Fall 2011 show, I was getting a very Casati vibe. The Place Vendome was recreated under the darkened dome of the Grand Palais in neon lines with Coco Chanel instead of Napolean on a column.
Fun Fact: When the Marchesa Casati was twenty five million dollars in debt and her possessions were confiscated and sold at auction in 1932, Coco Chanel was among the bidders.
Papery black taffeta was wrapped around the body, with a peplum that had a peek of noir feathers underneath it.
The colors were of the midnight sky, under a full moon, under the clouds.
There were leopard prints on sheer silk done in tiny beads with long frock coats worn over.
There was an art deco gilet worn over a satin skirt.
There was black lace on the body and over the eyes. There were long sheer fingerless gloves and Chanel's Blue Satin nailpolish (one of my favorite nail colors!).
There were feathery chiffon dresses beaded and hemmed to just above the ankle worn with a patent toe tipped sheer boot (all too fabulous don't you think?!)
And there was a jacket in a new shape in white satin, begonia pink and in grey and black tweeds: cropped, three quarter length sleeves that were relaxed and not tight against the arm.
There has been an embarrassment of riches at the couture shows this week. There has been so much creativity, so much beautiful handwork, it was a stellar season of real clothes under the Parisian sky which is why the poor showing by Dior was even more glaring. But I know they will recover and the House of Dior will be back: sixty five years old and better then ever. Vive le couture! A job well done!
But what was the real essence of this creature? Was she aware of her continuous metamorphosis, or was she impenetrable to herself, excluded from her own mystery? Gabriele D'Annunzio