Leopards and Lions

Lady Francesca Todd with a lion that attacked her Kenya in 1965

Lady Francesca Todd was born in a little row boat in Mississippi, during a great flood, New Years Eve, 85 years ago. Her parents were visiting from New York, when her mother went into labor. This was the beginning of many adventures for Francesca Todd.

At the age of 15, Francesca became interested in fashion. She enrolled in Traphagen School of Design, where she studied fashion design. After graduating she traveled through Europe perfecting her craft by working with some of the world’s best designers. She learned draping from Elsa Schiaparelli and sharpened her tailoring skills in Italy.

When Francesca Todd returned to New York, one of her many suitors asked if she would move to Kenya and marry him. She spent 16 years in Africa, traveling for four months of the year to different countries. One day in 1965, Francesca was walking by a river with a group of people. They saw a lion nearby, acting very strangely. Without a seconds notice the lion attacked Francesca’s face and killed a young boy–flying doctor’s rushed in to save her. Lady Francesca Todd barley escaped death and the lion was shot for fear that it would attack more people. She has had many adventures that have shaped her philosophy and influenced her style.

When I asked about her style influences,Lady Francesca Todd replied that one thing her mother told her years ago,is the most important. Her mother said, ” Get dressed in the morning and see what you can take off.” If she is wearing a dramatic necklace, she would never wear an arm full of bracelets.Francesca describes her style as Dramatic Simplicity and says(like many other Advanced Style subjects) that she dresses for herself, not other people.She also told me that it is important for older people to dress up because it raises their moral and makes others around them smile. With a lifetime of excitement behind her, Lady Francesca is still ready for her next adventure. She travels frequently and is a member of many groups, including the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asian Women’s Association, which she is planning a fashion show for next month.

  • What a wonderful woman and such beautiful style. Cheered me up on a gloomy day!

  • Advances style at it's best!!
    Made me think of what Diana Vreeland said: In order to be truly elegant, one needs a splash of bad taste. This woman is a little too much – the way I want to be!

    With love from

  • Lovely!

  • What a lovely fashionable woman! she looks amazing in that old picture, now too! I'm happy to follow you! Check out my blog and follow if you like plz! =}


  • Excellent tribute to quite an accomplished woman.

    I'm your newest fan – great blog!

  • I hope to be this fabulous one day. What an elegant lady!

  • love love love!!<3

  • Very interesting story/post
    She is truly stunning
    Especially in the second pic 🙂

  • Judy Haenni

    I love woman that have their own style and dance to their own music. Great story and a beautiful woman.

  • Fabulous! Truly a Grand Dame!

  • I love that first picture. Reading the story afterwards was just the icing on the cake. Obviously, Lady Francesca owned and still owns that lion! Her home looks fascinating and amazing too.

  • b

    This is the best yet Advanced Style profile! When I grow up I want to be her…without the lion attack. Thank you Ari.


  • Rae

    what an awesome life story! i love that first picture. and she was born in a row boat during a flood on new years eve? with a start like that, she had to have a crazy life. great post.

  • Oh wow, i've always looks at the picture from this site on my Bloglovin account but never clicked, the lIOns head drew me in, and i'm glad it did, what an adventous life.

  • Anonymous

    This blog is super cool! And the outfits are lovely, it's wonderful that you show that older ladies also can be fashion interested.

  • That is a great story. I especially love it when you tell a bit about the person rather than just photos. The photos are great, don't get me wrong, but a good story behind it is hard to beat! Bravo!

  • Oh if only I could meet this truly lovely, adventurous lady in person! She seems radiant and dashing, specifically around my taste for those who love fashion themselves.

  • FABulous! I saw an Ad.Style woman today in my little town coffee shop but didn't have my camera or even my cell phone. But I wrote down your blog name for her. I smile every time I open your blog!

  • Elegancia a cualquier edad.

  • Dressing for yourself and not anyone else is a lesson everyone needs to learn. It is liberating.

    Ahka Vintage SHOP
    Ahka Vintage BLOG

  • Amazing story, loooove it !:)
    Bisous from Paris,

  • She is brave as well as beautiful

  • Oh! My favourite lady yet. I wish my grandmother was still alive, you would have loved her!

  • Proof positive that style does advance with age. Kudos, Ari!

  • Bex

    I love your blog!

  • I plan (and hope) to have such cool stories to tell when i get older. Lovely lady and great blog!

  • What a life! What a style! Wonderful!

  • MJ

    That woman is BAAADDD!!! (in a good way, that is)!

  • I love all of her leopard! So gorgeous…

    XX Kathryn


  • This lady has amazing style! That animal print dress is to die for! WOW! Kiah

  • really?? seriously ? this is the coolest blog ever!!!!

    Elisa's blog

  • Beautiful 🙂


  • beautiful post!!!love Francesca Todd!!!

  • Awesome! This woman has it all. I think her story and her sense of style are absolutely amazing! Thanks for introducing us to this fabulous woman, Ari!

  • I dunno how I would feel about having the rug of a lion's body, especially if it was one that attacked me xD But she is an amazing woman. Even after such a traumatic experience, she kept living her exciting life and making the most of it. Definitely a great role model 🙂

    ~ Kieli ~

  • You are looking really beautiful and gorgeous. Your story is inspiring and I love it. Keep it up…

  • What an amazing woman 😀

  • What a fascinating life lady Francesca has lived. Thanks for sharing.

  • looks gorgeous.. i follow you..

    take a look on my new blog and follow me if you like .. 🙂



  • Oh so chic in leopard. Carrie Donovan would have loved her!

  • Goodness, that image with the lion says so much. We know who won that battle! What an amazing lady and amazing life.


  • Anonymous

    absolutely loved the picture of her with her dog…….and her style advice!!

  • such a fabulous post…the images and the story…just fabulous! Love it…let's see more

  • So chic! And what an incredible story!

  • Wow, she looks really fabulous! The leopard print outfit is wonderful and she looks absolutely stunning in that long coat. I like the platform shoes with it too. My daughter, who also loves Advanced Style, was also wowed by her.

  • Lady Francesca is even more fabulous in person than she is her in the 2d web world. Always smiling coquettishly and sharing an amazing story, working hard on women's causes and always speaking her mind. Lady Francesca is an inspiration in every sense of the word.

  • Never heard of Lady Francesca Todd before, but I love her!