According to legend, the reign of Choupette the feline muse began when designer Karl Lagerfeld refused to return an adorable white, longhaired, blue-eyed kitten to her owner, model Baptiste Giabiconi. Baptiste claims he’d merely asked Lagerfeld to watch over the kitten for a short while. But when Karl falls in love it happens quickly, and he falls hard.
“I never thought that I would fall in love like this with a cat,” Mr. Lagerfeld said in a CNN interview. Choupette lives in the literal lap of luxury, documented in the newly released book, Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat.
Yes, she has her own iPad, it’s true, and she files on a private jet with Lagerfeld, but that is the tip of the iceberg. “When we go on a trip," Francoise, Choupette’s maid, told Harpers Bazaar UK, "Choupette has almost as many bags as Mr. Lagerfeld … bags of toys and beauty products and a travel case made specially for her by Goyard.”
Karl is quoted as saying, "She has lunch and dinner with me, on the table, with her own dishes. She never touches my food. She would never eat on the floor.”
What’s the follow-up act for a cat after her every move has been documented in a book? Inspire a makeup line of course. Shu Uemura’s 2014 holiday’s line, aptly named Shupette (a combination of both “brand” names), has Choupette’s "markings" all over it.
The international press-reveal in Paris highlighted packaging featuring Mr. Lagerfeld’s own hand-illustrated images of Choupette. It’s said the collection will include four "cat eye" looks, one of which will have an eye shadow mimicking the color of Choupette’s blue eyes. The line is slated to hit the shelves this month.
It seems Choupette is a very effective muse. A book and makeup line in one year isn’t all she’s inspired. Let me introduce you to "Monster Choupette," a collection of bags, clothing and more, due for release under Karl’s own label in November.
From what we’ve seen thus far, the pieces feature a slightly creepy, cartoonish rendering of the cute fluffy kitty. Perhaps this is Karl’s attempt at being edgy after his previous upscale projects, an attempt to appeal to the hipster market for the holiday season? For me, however, the creepiness of the collection comes not from Karl’s attempts at making her look scary, but at his attempts to anthropomorphize a cartoon cat with lipstick and false eyelashes. To say I’m a tad concerned about this man is an understatement!
Choupette certainly has late-2014 covered between the publishing and fashion worlds. One can only hope that this adorable cat living on a pedestal in the midst of Lagerfeld’s empire isn’t lonely. Perhaps it’s time for a Carlotta or Charlette to keep her company? Karl, just think of the untapped male fashion market!
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About the Author: Tamar Arslanian is a singleton living in New York City with her cats Kip, Petie, and Haddie. She writes about felines, relationships, and life in the Big Apple at I HAVE CAT. Recently she attended the LA Feline Film Festival and had the distinct honor of petting Lil BUB. Her official report, “She’s very soft, cute and ‘grunty’ up-close.” Tamar’s biggest secret? She didn’t grow up with pets — unless goldfish and a hamster count. Tamar adopted her first cat in her mid-30s, thanks to a man she was dating at the time. Follow Tamar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.