The sound of the pearls falling to the ground filled the room. Giovanni* bent down together with the lady whose necklace had broken to collect them.
Their gaze met and Giovanni felt an electric shock driving through his body … it was love on first sight for him.
Luisa Casati loved it to underline her beautiful green eyes with black kohl, to drip belladonna in her eyes to widen her pupils (big eyes were very trendy at that time!) and to use false eyelashes.
This look was completed by her white porcelaine like skin (powder!) and her firered lips.
D’Annunzio called her the „Divina Marchesa“, the divine marchesa and Jean Coctreau „the most beautiful snake in the terrestrial paradise“.
Luisa was just eccentric, she loved to live in luxury, to surround herself with artists and to see herself as a piece of art and to stage herself like it. Also in her own home on the Grand Canal (Ca‘ Venier dei Leoni, today the Guggenheim Museum) where she had a real zoo: A cheetah, albino blackbirds (that she coloured differently according to her mood), apes, parrots, leopards and a boa that she loved to be photographed with – of course wearing the creations of Leon Bakst, designer of the Russian Ballets who created personally Luisa’s wardrobe.
Nightly walks all …
Luisa loved to walk her cheetah by night in Saint Mark’s Square … all naked and only lit up by a torch of one of her servants: Like this everyone could admire her.
This lifestyle though had its cost and so the „divina marchesa“ started to immerse herself in debts. Thus she went to London and found “shelter” at her daughter’s and niece’s place.
Luisa Casati died in 1957.
Ca’ Venier dei Leoni became after the “Divine Marchesa” the home of another eccentric woman, Peggy Guggenheim, the “last Dogaressa”**.
**wife of the Doge