Luisa Casati, born 134 years ago today, was a legend in her lifetime.
She aspired to be a work of art, and was indeed immortalized by painters
including Giovanni Boldini and Kees Van Dongen, yet she was famous for
being “the most daring and extravagant woman in Europe,” per the 1930s
press. Among her indulgences were fashion—she favored Fortuny and
Poiret—and animals; in addition to her elegant borzois, she had parrots,
a monkey, and pet cheetahs, which she was said to have walked on
jeweled leads while wearing the emperor’s new clothes under her furs. Vogue