Karl Lagerfeld Says He Texts With His Cat
If any feline had the wherewithal to commandeer an iPhone, it would be Choupette.
Karl Lagerfeld attends the 'Corsa Karl Und Choupette' Vernissage on February 03, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images)
Karl Lagerfeld got real with The Cut this week, discussing everything from his views on poultry (“I don’t eat chicken birds”) to his competitors (“...And the people who ask themselves if they could do better than me, they all failed. I don’t give you names because they are forgotten.”) The true star of the profile was none other than Lagerfeld's seven-year-old Birman cat, Choupette, with whom the designer appears to share a texting relationship that transcends her lack of opposable thumbs:
With the beard, he is appealingly human, in fact. At times, adorably so: The one moment in the interview where he took off his sunglasses was when he picked up his phone, which has the initials KL embossed on the case, to show me texted photo updates of — he says “from” — Choupette.
Insane as it may sound, it's not impossible that Choupette—who maintains an active Twitter and Instagram, and has even mused about starting a podcast—might have gotten her paws on an iPhone, complete with a CL-embossed case to match Lagerfeld's. (I'd call her an influencer, but she sternly condemned the use of the term in August, writing on Instagram, “I started my social media career before #influencers were a thing. Please refrain from using this term with moi.”) Or maybe she's more of an iMessage-from-laptop girl?
Lagerfeld spends much of the Cut profile extolling Choupette's virtues, perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the designer has previously stated he'd marry his cat if it were legal. He tells writer Carl Swanson the story of how he came to acquire Choupette (what started out as a pet-sitting stint turned into Lagerfeld bonding with “this kind of genius creature”), detailing her preferences (“She is always on the knees of the pilots. She loves private jets") and outlining her place on his personal hierarchy of needs (“I don’t do internet, I don’t do Facebook. I have to sketch, I have to play with Choupette, I have to sleep. The day is too short for that.”)
A perusal of Choupette's social media presence makes it clear that the cat is as much a brand unto herself as she is an extension of her owner's unique persona—digital media consultant Ashley Tschudin is prominently credited with maintaining Choupette's voice. That voice is alternately arch and hyper-pampered, adopting mommy blogger-meets-BDSM expressions (Choupette refers to Lagerfeld solely as “Daddy”) and appearing in expertly Photoshopped paparazzi shots with the likes of Anna Wintour.
Choupette isn't just a brand, though; she's an objet d'art, or some unnerving combo of the two. Lagerfeld is wearing a Choupette pin when he sits down with Swanson, and a cursory Google search provides endless feline bounty in the form of Choupette dolls, Choupette jewelry, Karl-and-Choupette phone cases, and sweatshirts bearing the cat's countenance. (Sadly, a search for “bootleg Choupette merch" yields no results, although perhaps the cat joins Peppa Pig in gracing Chinese "street couture.”)
Lagerfeld isn't the only fashion editor who's seen a bona fide merch economy spring up around his four-legged companion; legendary Vogue editor Grace Coddington recently released a Louis Vuitton capsule collection inspired by her cat, Pumpkin. The life of Pumpkin Coddington surely can't hold a candle to Choupette's, though; after all, how many cats can say they inspire envy in Anna Wintour? Being Karl Lagerfeld's pet Birman is, to paraphrase The Devil Wears Prada, the physical incarnation a million girls would kill for.