From Miu Miu’s kitten-filled Eau de Parfum campaigns to Freja Beha Erichsen posing as a cat for Chanel, we take a look at fashion’s feline obsession
Miu Miu Eau de Parfum (above)
The house of Miu Miu is known for feline connotations – its name, after all, is a homophone for a cat’s meow (and the childhood nickname of founder Miuccia Prada). The animal’s likeness has appeared as a motif in several collections – notably, Spring/Summer 2010, which was decorated by hand-drawn illustrations of cats, or a 2018 ‘Little Cats’ capsule featuring various cartoon felines (prints included The Simpsons’ Snowball II and Marie from Disney’s The Aristocats). They have appeared in campaigns too, like that for the house’s first ever fragrance Miu Miu Eau de Parfum – in the Steven Meisel-shot images, Nymphomaniac actress Stacy Martin plays with a tiny black and white kitten, named Truman.
Givenchy Autumn/Winter 2017
Clare Waight Keller’s tenure as artistic director of Givenchy began with a missing kitten: prior to her first show, ‘wanted’ posters asking the whereabouts of a small black cat began to appear in various cities around the world (those who rang in could win tickets to her debut). Later, the cat – named ‘Purrkins’ – would appear in her first campaign proper, alongside several other feline companions and various models, photographed by Steven Meisel. “I love the idea of a woman looking like a cat: certain people remind me of cats. They can look a little reserved, but they have this serene look, direct and seductive. You want to meet them, get to know them and be like them,” Waight Keller later said. “I wanted to play with modernity, these expressions and this attitude: for me, it’s a perfect metaphor for the evolution of Givenchy.”
Gucci Spring/Summer 2017
Under Alessandro Michele, a menagerie of animals have appeared in Gucci’s campaigns – whether lambs (coddled by Harry Styles), flamingos, snakes, or, as per the house’s Cruise 2019 campaign, an entire recreation of Noah’s ark. The common house cat is yet to feature, though their Spring/Summer 2017 did feature its larger cousins: photographed by Glen Luchford, lions, tigers and leopards starred alongside the usual slew of Gucci-clad models.
Miu Miu Autumn/Winter 2019
The backdrop to Miu Miu’s Autumn/Winter 2019 show, held earlier this year in Paris, was an AMO-designed set made up of stacks of television screens, each showing jumbled images and film by photographer and filmmaker Sharna Osborne. Among short clips of the house’s current faces, and blurred images of flowers and fruit, was a black cat, eyes shining as if captured in headlights. It would also appear as part of the Autumn/Winter 2019 campaign. “Osborne’s cat – cuteness overload laced with X-Files atmosphere – summarised the antithetical characteristics that the creatures possess the best,” wrote AnOther columnist Claire Marie Healy in a recent piece tracing film’s obsession with cats and teenage girls. “Cute, but psycho.”
Chanel Autumn/Winter 2011
The late Karl Lagerfeld was well-known for his love of cats: in particular, his beloved Choupette, the blue-eyed Birman which was given to the designer as a gift in 2011 (and purportedly was left millions in his will – “she is an heiress,” he once told Le Figaro). Choupette did not feature in any of Chanel’s campaigns – though was photographed by Lagerfeld for beauty brand Shu Uemura – but Lagerfeld did feature a cat in his Autumn/Winter 2011 campaign for the Parisian house – albeit model Freja Beha Erichsen dressed up as one, photographed by the designer and styled by Carine Roitfeld.
Stella McCartney Pre-Fall 2016
Perla the Persian, ragdoll Tobia and Adaline the sphynx starred in Stella McCartney’s Pre-Fall 2016 campaign and lookbook – and all were reportedly hired from a pet modelling agency. They featured alongside Lineisy Montero, who wears the distinctly feline-inspired collection: dresses and jacquards were illustrated with portraits of cats, prints included leopard spots and tiger stripes and an abundance of fur appeared throughout (faux, of course).
Ami Autumn/Winter 2019
Earlier this month, Ami revealed their latest campaign on Instagram, running the above with the caption ‘Ruben and Nelson’ – the latter of which is a small black cat, who poses alongside model Ruben on a wooden crate. It makes up part of the Parisian brand’s Autumn/Winter 2019 campaign, a series of portraits by photographer Michael Bailey Gates, which has been revealed via Ami’s social media accounts in the past weeks.