Infinite Variety

Infinite Variety : The Life and Legend of the Marchesa Casati (Ultimate Edition)

4.13 (218 ratings by Goodreads)

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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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 43.18mm | 771.11g
  • Minnesota, United States
  • English
  • 1517903718
  • 9781517903718
  • 837,763

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The Marchesa Luisa Casati was Europe's most notorious celebrity, and its most eccentric. For the first three decades of the twentieth century she astounded the continent. Nude servants gilded in gold leafs attended her; bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table; and she wore live snakes as jewellery. Among those she captivated were Man Ray, Augustus John, Jean Cocteau, Cecil Beaton and Jack Kerouac. Some became lovers, others awestruck admirers, but all were influenced by this extraordinary muse. Explored in detail for the first time, this is the story of the Marchesa Luisa Casati.
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Table of contents


Quentin Crisp

Introduction: Siren of the Century

Dream Child

A Slow Awakening

1001 Nights on the Grand Canal

The Basilisk's Stare

Tigress on Capri

Medusa in Pearls

Dragonfly in Amber

Epilogue: Phoenix Rising


Francesca Granata



Select Bibliography

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Review quote

"Fascinating . . . with or without her cheetahs, the Marchesa Casati's circus of the self makes her a natural for the new millennium."-Vanity Fair

"A meticulously researched biography, Infinite Variety is as much art history as chronicle of personal obsession."-New York Times

"Ryersson and Yaccarino are judicious historians of frivolity who capture the tone of a life that was obscenely profligate yet strangely pure."-The New Yorker

"Beautifully written . . . Prepare to be astonished."-ELLE
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About Michael Orlando Yaccarino

Scot D. Ryersson is an award-winning writer, illustrator, and graphic designer.

Michael Orlando Yaccarino is a freelance writer specializing in international genre film, fashion, music, and unconventional historical figures.

Quentin Crisp (1908-1999) led a long and multifaceted life-from artist's model and commentator on style and etiquette to writer and theatrical and film performer. He is famous for his autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant.

Francesca Granata is assistant professor of fashion studies at the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons School of Design, the New School. She is author of Experimental Fashion: Performance Art, Carnival and the Grotesque Body.
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Rating details

218 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 42% (91)
4 37% (80)
3 16% (34)
2 5% (11)
1 1% (2)
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