Mystery shrouds the truth of what really took place in the life of Cleopatra. Rumored to be a beauty with the power to seduce great men of power, she was known to have secured strategic liaisons with the likes of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. For centuries, artists and writers have tried to capture her on the canvas and the page, but she remains forever on the periphery of what we know to be true.
With the couture of Valentino as our inspiration, let’s take a trip down the Nile and visit the ancient courts of the Pharaoh.
Hot desert winds, the coolness of marble structures, a soft breeze coming from the river…it’s easy to imagine Cleopatra walking the paths of her kingdom wearing flowing tunics and jewel encrusted accessories fit for a Queen.
"Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae" by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1896
What would our journey into ancient Egypt be without a little love story? To help secure her position and access to the throne, or perhaps for love alone, Cleopatra pursued and gained the affection of Julius Caesar.
Walking through the door or simply meeting him in public was not going to work for Cleopatra. She decided to make quite the entrance by having herself delivered to him and unrolled from a carpet. What man could resist that amount effort and ingenuity?
Cleopatra must have kept her seducing skills sharp during her time with Caesar because after his assassination she was able to charm Mark Antony. He may have thought he was only meeting her to build alliances between their countries, but little did he know she was going win his heart.
"Cleopatra and Antony" by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Their epic love story was memorialized by Shakespeare with words like, "Eternity was in our lips and eyes…" There's was a love that may have bound them in ways that Earth could not contain. As Mark Antony faced devastation on the battle field and committed suicide, Cleopatra is said to have followed suit by using an asp to end her life.
However, given the fact she was entrenched the schemes of politics across multiple borders, it’s also believed she may have been murdered.
"The Death of Cleopatra" by Guido Cagnacci, 1658
Whatever the circumstances, her death did not diminish the hold she maintains over our imaginations centuries later.
Runway Photos: Vogue.com