Karl Lagerfeld, the German fashion designer who served as creative director of Chanel, has died. Lagerfeld was an iconic figure in the fashion world who was known for his signature style and his devotion to his work. But Lagerfeld was also known for his close relationship to one little animal: his cat, Choupette. Here’s what you need to know about Choupette:
1. Choupette, a Red Point Birman, Originally Belonged to the Model Baptiste Giabiconi
Lagerfeld and Choupette first met in 2011, when Choupette’s then-owner, the model Baptiste Giabiconi, was traveling. Lagerfeld was originally just taking care of Choupette while Giabiconi was away. But the fashion designer fell in love with the cat. Lagerfeld, who said that he used to be more of a dog person, said that it was “love at first sight” when he met Choupette; he told Numero that when Giabiconi came home, he refused to give Choupette back.
Lagerfeld told Numero, “I like being calm, and my cat is a presence that counts but isn’t encumbering. She is peaceful, funny, fun and gracious, she’s pretty to look at and has good poise, but her main quality is that she doesn’t talk. It was love at first sight. Baptiste [Giabiconi] was going on holiday and asked if he could leave her with the staff at my house while he was away. She was still a baby at the time, and I found her so cute that when Baptiste came home I said to him, “Sorry but I’m keeping her!”
Choupette is a red point Birman, a breed known for its affectionate, calm nature, its intelligence, and its soft vocalizing. Choupette is white with blue eyes.
2. Choupette Has a Book & an Instagram Account With 121,000 Followers
Choupette’s book — Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Cat — was published in 2016. The Amazon blurb for the book reads as follows: “Choupette delivers words of wisdom to her 37,000+ Twitter devotees, but here, for the first time, she shares her complete lifestyle guide. Humorously themed chapters cover diet, beauty, healthcare, fashion tips, secret loves and pet hates for the pampered cat, along with observations and advice from Madame Horn (her vet), and Madame Françoise (her lady’s maid). Photographs taken by Karl himself include his Sacred Cat of Burma on fashion shoots with Laetitia Casta and Linda Evangelista. The book is completed with drawings, poetry, and photographs of literary cat-lovers including Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Saul Steinberg, Dorothy Parker, and Edward Gorey. This season’s most talked-about cat book is the perfect chic gift for cat lovers, the fashion-conscious, and style-aware readers.”
Chouppette has an Instagram account with 121,000 followers; she also has a Twitter account. Her most recent tweet — written the night before Lagerfeld died — was about TV. “Am I the only one forcing herself to continue watching @BachelorABC?” Choupette tweeted.
3. Choupette Has Two Personal Maids & Owns an I-Pad
Choupette has two maids dedicated to her personal needs. She also owns an iPad and lives a life full of luxury; she eats her meals off of expensive china dishes. In describing her personal routines, Lagerfeld said, “She is brushed four times a day, and she is very body conscious. In fact she has maintained her ideal weight of 3.5 kilos since she reached adult size. She goes to the doctor once a month – to the famous Dr. Horn’s very chic clinic next door to Dior – even though she’ll sulk with the people who took her for three days afterwards. But what she hates most of all is being manicured. That is why I never do her claws.”
4. Choupette Has a Successful Modeling Career, Earning Millions for a Single Shoot
Choupette is a model in her own right and commands a high salary for her work. In 2015, she collaborated with the brand Shu Uemura and posed for a Vauxhall Corsa car calendar, earning two million euros in total. Lagerfeld told The Cut, “She did two jobs and made 3 million euros last year. One was for cars in Germany and the other was for a Japanese beauty product.”
Lagerfeld added that he and Choupette were “like an old couple” who had started to look alike. He said, “I look a lot like Choupette… we’re really like an old couple. In fact, she maintains it for me, we sleep on the same pillow and she spends her life licking it.”
5. It’s Not Yet Clear Who Will Take Care of Choupette Now
Lagerfeld often said that he and Choupette were like an old married couple; he told CNN that he’d never expected to fall in love with an animal, but that he really loved Choupette. ‘There is no marriage, yet, for human beings and animals… I never thought that I would fall in love like this with a cat,’ Lagerfeld admitted. Now that the fashion designer has passed away, it’s not clear who will be left to care for his beloved Choupette.