Skip Nav

Marchesa Luisa Casati

Who she is: Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts, Luisa Casati Stampa di Soncino, Marchesa di Roma captivated Europeans for decades and has since inspired painters, authors, fashion designers and moviemakers with her eccentric lifestyle.

Why she's scandalous: She was known for strolling with leashed cheetahs in nothing but a fur coat, wearing live snakes as jewelry, and throwing outlandish parties with nude servants gilded in gold and wax mannequins seated at the dining table. She inspired Cartier’s Panther design, is the namesake behind the Marchesa fashion house, and is said to be the inspiration behind many novel and movie characters.

Read More International Women's DayHistoryWomen's History MonthWomen