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The Rise of Cats in Fashion

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - If anyone is still doubting what the power animal is in fashion, then look no further as the fantastically, fabulous feline, aka the cat, has firmly wiggled and purred its way into the fashion industry's heart for good.

The dog days in fashion are clearly over as the industry's fascination with the cat has only intensified over the past few seasons. Just take a look at Stella Mccartney's Pre-Fall 2016 collection, which was stock full of hand-drawn cat faces on scarves, dresses, trousers and skirts in addition to big-cat prints, such as tiger and leopard. The collection also included a deluxe cat-carrier bag, and the accompanying campaign images featured a range of cats.

Then there was Gucci's Pre-Fall 2016 collection, which features kittens on numerous sweaters, complete with cat-eyed glasses, and No.21 take on the 'Ugly' sweater, made cute thanks to the cat on the front, also for Pre-Fall 2016. In fact, there were so many Pre-Fall collections featuring cat motifs in one way or another that fashion magazines Vogue and Harper's Bazaar dubbed cats as one of the seasons trends.

The fashion industry love affair with cats goes further than Fall 2016

But the industry's love for cats goes further than just Pre-Fall 2016. Autumn/Winter 2016/2017 collections from Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Paul & Joe and Miu Miu all included cat motifs, big-cat prints or cat inspired designs. Some, like Loewe, kept the cat influence minimal by using it to accessorize, while others, like Gucci and D&G, place fashion's darling cat front and centre in their collections. New collections for Cruise 2017 from Gucci and Marc Jacobs also incorporate kitty silhouettes, further cementing their place in fashion.

One may ask where this fascination with cats in fashion first stemmed from. Cats have regularly been featured in fashion designs and campaigns. For example, luxury jewellery house Cartier has been using a panther as its motif since 1914 and Italian artist Rene Gruau used cats to advertise tights for Christian Dior in the early 1960s. Designer Miuccia Prada periodically incorporated cat motifs in her collections for Miu Miu. One of the Italian fashion houses most memorable collections from Spring 2010, which included kitten and bird outlines, served as inspiration for Miu Miu's Spring/Summer 2016 collection, which included cat-themed cowboy boots with metallic detailing which were an instant hit.

A photo posted by Giada Cassina (@giadacassina) on

Fashion Leaders & Cat Lovers include Karl Lagerfeld and Grace Coddington

Brands ranging from Sandro to Zara and Gucci have all featured cats in their campaigns over the years. In 2000, Mario Testino shoot a particularly endearing campaign for Gucci's Spring/Summer collection, while Lanvin included two black cats in its Autumn/Winter 2009 advert. However cats have served as more than just pretty faces within the fashion industry. Famous cat lovers in the fashion industry include designer Karl Lagerfeld - whose famous cat Choupette has served as the muse for numerous collections and created her own make-up line with Shu Uemura - and US designer Jason Wu, who was inspired by his two cats Jinxy and Peaches when creating his 2012 collection with Target.

However, one of the most famed cat lovers in the industry remains the self proclaimed cat lady and US Vogue's creative director at large, Grace Coddington. Not only has she numerously stated and showed her love for cats in public, but she also released her own illustrated novel based on her cats adventurous, 'The Catwalk Cats' in 2006 and more recently her own perfume, whose bottle was inspired by her cats. Then there is British Vogue's fashion editor Francesca Burns, who also shares her love for her cat on Instagram.

A video posted by @therealgracecoddington on

Instagram fuels the fashion industry’s love for Cats

In fact, the emergence of Instagram as the industry’s preferred social platform has also undoubtedly helped the rise of cats in fashion. Just take a look at Karl Lagerfeld's Choupette - she boosts over 87,000 followers on Instagram alone, has inspired numerous fashion collections as well as a book. She joins the ranks of celebrity cats - such as Grumpy Cat, who has 1.8 million followers, Nala Cat, who has an astonishing 3.1 million followers on Instagram and Lil Bub, who has 1.4 million followers - who have spawned their own memes and merchandise, such as t-shirts, sweaters and stickers.

A photo posted by Grumpy Cat (@realgrumpycat) on

Although dogs are gaining momentum on social media platforms like Facebook, cats and cat memes are synonymous with the internet, which has led to certain cats like Grumpy Cat becoming known across the globe. Grumpy Cat (real name Tardar Sauce) even launched her own movie with Lifetime "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" and continues to tour the world attending numerous events. Of course, there is a larger motivation for their owners to share photos of their cats - money. In 2014, Grumpy Cat was estimated to have made a cool 100 million dollars (64 million pounds), although her owner Tabatha Bundesen had refuted this, the value is unlikely to be very far off.

Vogue even invited Grumpy Cat to come and visit its head office in New York in 2014, with Coddington herself saying that Grumpy was "probably the most interesting person" she had met that year - showing that cats are truly fashion's darling.

A photo posted by Helena Mobin (@helenaymobin) on

Homepage Photo: @Uglycatmary, via Choupette Lagerfeld Facebook

Photo 1: Stella Mccartney Pre-Fall 2016, via stellamccartney.com

Photo 2: Gucci Pre-Fall 2016, via Gucci.com

Photo 3: Loewe A/W '16, via Loewe.co,

Photo 4: D&G A/W '16, via dolcegabbana.com

Photo 5 & 6: Karl Lagerfeld Choupette, via via Choupette Lagerfeld Facebook

cats in fashion
Grace Coddington
Karl Lagerfeld
Stella McCartney