When a 19th-Century Spanish Courtesan Inspires a Lamp

Larose Guyon’s Otèro lighting fixture adopts key characteristics of the cabaret dancer Caroline “La Belle” Otèro.

Legend has it that Caroline “La Belle” Otèro—a Spanish dancer, actress, and courtesan who starred in Paris’s Folies Bergère cabaret in the late 1890s—was so enchanting, six men committed suicide after their love affairs with her ended. (Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward IV of the U.K., Russian grand dukes, and Serbian and Spanish kings were among her well-heeled suitors). She consequently amassed a trove of lavish jewelry, and commissioned one-off pieces, too, including a sleeveless Cartier jacket encrusted with colored cabochons; she later asked the French atelier to rework the design into a necklace made exclusively of diamonds. Otèro’s spellbinding beauty and fondness for bling informed the Otèro pendant, a slinky light designed by Canadian studio Larose Guyon. Made in Quebec, it features satin chains made from brass, nickel, or copper, shown here, which hang from a pair of disks lined with a ring of LEDs that illuminate the U shape formed by the fine metal strands. It’s a soft, seductive fixture, just like its muse.

(Photos: Courtesy Larose Guyon)

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