Feline Fashionista

It’s Fashion Week in New York City, a chance for hoity-toity couturiers of the fashion industry to show their latest pseudo-highbrow wares. It’s also a chance for the hoi polloi to ask, “WTF is that,” and “why do those rip jeans cost $400”?

Since “art” is subjective, The Chester Chronicles won’t attempt to answer those questions but will say they are profound and as difficult to answer as finding the solution to the Collatz conjecture.

Not to be outdone, the Elysian Impact’s Inaugural CatWalk FurBaby Fasion Show was held in conjunction with NYFW. The reason was to raise money to support animal welfare organizations. Walking down the catwalk were human models and dogs, trying to outdo each other in the realm of absurdity.

This dog is dressed as white trash. Courtesy: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Notice I didn’t mention cats because why wouldn’t you have felines gracing a catwalk to support animal welfare causes.

Not to worry. The cats will have their day later this year in the Big Apple. That’s when the historic Algonquin Hotel holds its Annual Cat Fashion Show and no one is questioning the tastefulness of their chic wardrobes.

As for when that day will be, it’s to be determined. Why? Because it’s very difficult to get one cat to make a scheduled appointment let alone several cats agreeing on a date for a major fashion event. More on the Algonquin later.

Making things more confusing in NYC is that one of the human stars of Fashion Week, designer Hillary Taymour, the founder of Collina Strada, dressed her models as animals including dogs. Maybe she was confused as to which show she was presenting her latest line of stuff to. She probably faced the fashion paradoxical question, “do I want my models to look like bitches, or my bitches to look like models”? Woof!

Our cat Chester and I scanned through several photos of Collina Strada’s models and didn’t notice any cats. Another insult to the feline world. There was a reptile, pig, several other animals and of course the canine.

Fashion that belongs in a pigsty. This model was grateful no one could see her face. Courtesy: Shutterstock.

“Dogs have no fashion sense and neither do you humans,” Chester growled as his eyes were assaulted with images of what passes for high-end clothing in the people and canine worlds.

“And what’s with these people cross-dressing as animals,” my exasperated tabby wailed. “Every person wants to be something else. Pick one and dress like that! You can’t have it both ways. That’s a big fashion faux pas.

“I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing those clothes. As a matter of fact, that’s why I only wear my fur, designed by me, Chester de la Renta.”

Earth to fashion world…are we even trying anymore? Courtesy: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

“I’m impressed,” I said, trying to expand Chester’s ego to a new zenith. “Are you selling your fur style to other cats?”

“No, mine is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and I’m not sharing, selling or renting it to anyone else,” my snobbish cat extolled.

To brighten our day, Chester and I looked for reviews of the NYFW and CatWalk FurBaby Fasion shows and we weren’t disappointed.

This is how you arrive at a fashion show. A tabby puts on her best queen pose entering the Algonquin Hotel’s Annual Cat Fashion Show. Courtesy:

“There are wishes, and there are realities. I feel bad, actually, that there wasn’t anything to grab on to. But you can’t just dump some pig snout on a runway and call it luxury.” – Long Nguyen, Flaunt

“While the technical difficulties and aesthetic miscalculations were myriad, the collection’s gravest flaw was that it simply had no vision. It was a little bit of pig knuckles, a smidge of dog poop, a few vague references to Lassie and Rin Tin Tin. There was even a touch of Snoopy mixed in for good measure. It was a chaotic stew of leftovers.” – Robin Givhan, The Daily Beast

“Nothing in the collection evidenced any real skill or discernible design work. In fact, you could probably find a lot of it already on the shelves at Petco.”  – Booth Moore Los Angeles Times

Saliant points, wouldn’t you agree? We did. Also, no dogs would allow themselves to be interviewed after their embarrassments on the catwalk.

Classy cat. Mrs. Parberry dolled up as a Spanish flamenco dancer. Courtesy: Lisa Raymond.

As for the most anticipated fashion event of the year in NYC, the Algonquin Hotel’s Annual Cat Fashion Show, Chester and myself perused past events in our heightened awaiting of this season’s crème de la crème of cat garments. We were not disappointed.

Cat attitude. Folds the cat rocking the punk look at the Algonquin Hotel’s Annual Cat Fashion Show. Courtesy: Lisa Raymond.

From elegant dresses to punked out designs, the creators of these wonderful programs silenced the feline fashionestas who troll the internet.

The critics agreed the Algonquin shows are a smash hit.

“The pieces themselves, especially a series of draped evening gowns that closed the show, were nearly all done in shiny silks. They brought an element of fantasy to the great halls, and a joyously American take on impeccable cat tailoring to the Algonquin Hotel’s Annual Cat Fashion Show. A long story, absolutely; a fashion spectacle, indeed.” – Nicole DeMarco i-D

“See the trompe l’oeil fabric treatments at Kim Jones’s terrific Algonquin show, a parade of the lightest kind of lacy furry lingerie dressing interspersed with a series of metallic cat goddess gowns. — the kind that dipped into the cultural whirlpool of both “Game of Cats” and the 1990s” –Vanessa Friedman The New York Times

Explaining her well received 2022 Algonquin show, Miuccia Prada said, “For this collection, I wanted to explore the purpose of fashion, its reason. Its usefulness in cat society and in cat culture today.”

She certainly succeeded.

Hamlet (VIII) acts as the Algonquin’s concierge. Courtesy: The Algonquin Hotel.

Back to the Algonquin. It has a long love affair with cats. The hotel has hosted a cat since 1923 when a stray named Billy wandered in and became king of the castle.

It’s unknown if Billy participated in the hotel’s famous gathering of writers at the Round Table, including; Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Harold Ross and Alexander Woollcott. It is rumored that years later Billy helped Tennessee Williams write Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The current Algonquin cat is Hamlet, the eighth feline to be so named who came to the hotel by way of the Bidawee Animal Shelter. In all, 12 cats, all rescues have had the run of the hotel.

While Hamlet keeps tabs on the hotel’s operations, the feline fashion plates strut their stuff with tails held high on the big city catwalk.

A few weeks after Chester and I reviewed the past Algonquin fashion shows, a package showed up at our house. It was the latest cat punk fashion from New York’s famed garment district.

Chester hurriedly put on his new threads.

“What do you think,” Chester asked, already knowing how he felt – like a million dollars.

“You rock, cat,” I affirmed.

With that, Chester did his own strutting down an imaginary catwalk.

Inspired by the Algonquin Hotel’s Annual Cat Fashion Show, Chester Punks out.

“I’m going clubbing,” he exclaimed.

“Where,” I asked.

“In the basement. You know I’m not leaving the house,” he said.

“Now how about a bottle of Dom Perignon,” Chester ordered.

“We’re out, how about a bowl of water,” I offered.

“That will do,” Chester agreed. “And send down all my lady friends when they arrive,” he added.

“I’ll do that,” I said.

With that I locked him in for the night and went to bed knowing that Chester de la Renta was sleeping in my house.

One thought on “Catwalk

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