Nicknamed the High Priest of Fashion, Karl Lagerfeld was creative director for Chanel for 36 years and Fendi for 54 years, spoke four languages and once lost almost 100 pounds so he could fit in the stylish narrow-cut Dior Homme suits of the day. In these ways, he was not a relatable man. But there is one way in which I related to Karl, who sadly passed away on February 19, more than almost any other celebrity: He was a crazy cat lady.
Karl Lagerfeld Was Many Things, Including a Crazy Cat Lady
Karl Lagerfeld's love for his cat Choupette knew no bounds and he spoiled her like no cat has ever been spoiled before. In an interview with TheCut, he divulged that she has at least two personal maids at her command and that she accompanies him everywhere, out of pure love.
"She has something unique. She is like a human being, but the good thing is that she’s silent. You don’t have to discuss it. She hates other animals and she hates children. She stays always with me and she has two personal maids. They play with her, they have to take care of her beautiful white hair, the beauty treatments for her eyes, and they entertain her. She is the center of the world. If you saw her, you would understand. She is kind of Greta Garbo. There is something unforgettable about her, the way she moves, the way she plays. She’s an inspiration for elegance. For attitude."
He also told Harper's Bazaar that Choupette's maids keep a diary of everything she does throughout the day, presumably so that Lagerfeld never has to feel as though he's gone a moment without her. "They have to write in the book exactly what they're doing. Because there's a diary, I know everything."
While I haven't gone so far as to hire a full staff to tend to my precious Jill kitty's every need (yet), I do routinely ask my mother for photo and text updates on what Jill's been up to (unfortunately, the response I get from her most often is, "I don't know, sleeping?") and would argue that my Jill is actually the center of the world. She is my best friend, as Choupette was Karl's. I get it.
Interestingly enough, the marriage of Choupette and Lagerfeld almost didn't happen. He was never a fan of animals before meeting her and changed his mind only because his friend, French model Baptiste Giabiconi, the original owner of Choupette, once asked Lagerfeld to house-sit for two weeks. In a tale as old as time, upon Giabiconi's return, Lagerfeld had fallen so deeply in love with the kitty that he decided to keep her for himself. "When he came back I thought, 'I'm sorry Choupette is mine,'" said Lagerfeld in an interview with CNBC. And the rest is history.
Choupette has starred in car campaigns and had her own beauty collaboration in Japan (earning about $3 million in the process). She has appeared in numerous fashion spreads alongside top models like Gisele Bündchen and was on the cover of Lucky magazine. She eats and drinks out of Goyard bowls. She has a coffee-table book filled with images of her impossibly chic lifestyle. She has her own iPad. She has a Twitter account with more than 49.7k followers and an Instagram account with over 140k. Neither I, nor my cat Jill, have any of these things.
And yet, if I could spoil my kitty as much as Choupette, I would, in a heartbeat. So while Karl Lagerfeld will be remembered primarily for his incredible work as a designer (as he should be), I will also remember him as a fellow crazed cat lover.