The fashion realm has long had a thing for cats. It comes up often, but has anybody ever stopped to ask why? Why do we all get so excited to see a cat included in some of the world’s biggest brands’ editorials?
It might have something to do with their natural class, or perhaps their lack of enthusiasm for anything other than a cardboard box. Or maybe it’s to do with their obvious disdain for us all, which matches up with the bored yet cool look many brands want.
The history of people living together with cats is one of love, hate, fear, and admiration. Back in Ancient Egyptian times, cats were considered sacred and therefore often glorified. They were worshipped and would often be represented within jewellery in hieroglyphics. This means that cats have been in fashion for over 5000 years.
Nowadays, we’re not quite at that worshipping level anymore (or at least most of us aren’t anyway), but cats still remain important in the daily lives of lots of people around the world, and the internet is awash with cat-themed creations. People have access to cat art like never before, with everything, from paintings and drawings to photographs and beyond. We just cannot get enough of it. Found in the works of Picasso to Renoir, and sometimes even portrayed as evil creatures, they most often appear as our endearing companions.
Russian artist Svetlana Petrova, actually used her own cat to deal with a tragic moment in her life. When her mother passed away, she decided to overcome her grief through an art project you may know as “the big orange cat”. Consisting of a cat (she adopted right after her mother’s death) in famous works of art, her work came to mark the beginning of Fat Cat Art. From Salvador Dalí in his The Persistence of Memory to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the orange cat is there, graceful and… just perfect.
From artistic muses to healing miracles and of course fashion icons, it feels like the power of cats could be endless. They might as well create their own lines of clothes and take over the fashion industry – we all know that it would be a great success.
Understandably so, a lot of big brands, from Gucci to Dior have decided to give cats a starring role in their collections at some point in time. Whether on clothes or with clothes, cats are obviously still sought after, no matter what.
Looking at some examples of cat inspired trends, we have to mention the Miu Miu Spring 2010 cat collection and its cat prints. Feline fashion might have gotten worse since then, with cat-embroidered caps, cat t-shirts (such as Stella McCartney’s), chic cat slippers, and not to forget when Vogue cast cats in a shoe editorial.
And of course, at the centre of Karl Lagerfeld’s heart, there is Choupette. One has to admit that when a cat poses alongside a top model or a fashion figure such as Lagerfeld, there might be a little competition for attention.
And here we are in 2017, the Egyptians have been gone for thousands of years and cats are back in jewellery.
Maybe this is just one step before coming full circle and going back to worshipping cats, Egyptian style. Maybe it was their idea in the first place to take over our lives. Maybe fashion is the easiest way for them to get to us. Maybe we should be careful. Or just let it be.
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Words: Pauline Schnoebelen
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