Choupette: How Karl Lagerfield’s cat became the most famous feline in the world

Megan C. Hills

With the passing of design legend Karl Lagerfeld the fashion world has fallen into mourning for the man who helmed Chanel and Fendi as creative director. The designer, who has been remembered in an outpouring of tributes, has left an indelible legacy.

He also brought one beautiful little feline into the limelight: his beloved pet, Choupette.

Choupette, who he once described as “a sort of silent Jean Harlow”, quickly became fashion’s favourite cat when Lagerfeld adopted her from model Baptiste Giabiconi in 2011. With modelling gigs, fashion and beauty campaigns and a luxurious lifestyle we’ve ever come across, she also went on to have a major impact on Lagerfeld’s life.

Facebook/ChoupetteLagerfeld

He said to 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.”

Who is Choupette Lagerfeld?

Choupette Lagerfeld is the late Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, who has become something of an Instagram star. While the snowy white cat doesn’t have her own Instagram account (she does however have an unofficial one called @choupettesdiary), she starred frequently on Karl Lagerfeld’s official brand account.

Known for her distinctive bright blue eyes and white fur, the cat has modelled for spreads with the likes of V Magazine and Vogue, sparked beauty and fashion capsule collections and even has her own book called Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat.

When did Karl Lagerfeld get Choupette?

Choupette originally didn’t belong to Karl Lagerfeld. The cat initially belonged to a model called Baptiste Giabiconi - one of Lagerfeld’s close friends and muses. The story goes that back in 2011, Giabiconi went off on holiday for Christmas and Lagerfeld was appointed catsitter. Only, the model never got the cat back.

Speaking to Numero, Lagerfeld said, “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!'”

Since then, Choupette has lived a pretty lavish lifestyle. He revealed that looking after Choupette is a full scale operation and told CNBC, “She's over-groomed and everything. She has several maids. She's never alone when I'm not there. Oh no no… Even if she sleeps, she doesn't want to be alone. She's like a chic lady, like a kept woman with her personal maid.”

He also told Numero that Choupette has “four different dishes prepared for her” made from fresh ingredients per day served in “fabulous bowls”, plus she dines with him at the table. Additionally, Choupette is “brushed four times a day”, goes for monthly a check-up at “Dr Horn’s very chic clinic next door to Dior” and even gets manicures. She also “sleeps in discarded Chanel garments” and “her every action and emotion is recorded by the maids in a journal” according to The Guardian.

Choupette has also been neutered, for a very Lagerfeld reason. He said, “I preferred her to be a virgin forever. In any case, she loathes other animals. And she hates children.”

What does Choupette mean in English?

Choupette means “sweetie” in French. In fact, the cat wasn’t the only Choupette in Lagerfeld’s life as he also revealed to British Vogue that he refers to his favourite models by the nickname.

He revealed in 2018, "There are people I call my Choupettes. [Luna Bijl] and the daughter of Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, they are my Choupettes."

What kind of cat is Choupette?

Choupette is a white Birman cat with bright blue eyes. She is currently seven years old.

When did Choupette start modelling?

Beyond being Lagerfeld’s beloved pet, Choupette also had a career as a model and muse for various beauty and fashion lines. One of her earliest appearances was in 2013, when Lagerfeld and Choupette featured on one of Harper’s Bazaar’s several October covers.

From there, her popularity exploded. Lagerfeld revealed in 2014 to The Cut that “she did two jobs and made 3 million euros” for a German car advert and a Japanese beauty campaign.

The Japanese beauty campaign in question appears to be for Shu Uemura, who released a capsule makeup collection called ‘Shupette’. Lagerfeld was reportedly very close to the late founder Uemura and “famously [did] all his sketches using its make-up pencils” according to the Telegraph.

The other seemed to be that year’s Opel Corsa calendar, which featured Choupette on one of the brand’s luxe cars. Lagerfeld actually shot the campaign and said of his cat, “Choupette did a great job - just as I would expect from a star. She was relaxed no matter whether she was behind the wheel or on the roof of the Opel. She was by no means tense.”

In 2015, Choupette also landed one of the modelling world’s most coveted accolades: the chance to star in Vogue. In 2015’s September issue, Choupette lounged on a chair and captivated the camera. Kendall Jenner was also in the shot, but Choupette stole the show. She also starred on the cover of Brazilian Vogue, cuddled by Gisele Bundchen.

Which celebrities does Choupette hang out with?

Although Choupete may have modelled with Gisele Bundchen and Kendall Jenner, it seems like the Birman has led a relatively sheltered life. Lagerfeld told Numero that for the most part, Choupette stayed away from other people. “I have several residences in Paris, and Choupette lives in the one where I never receive guests” he explained.

Sometimes, Lagerfeld and Choupette made time for very special guests - including royalty. He continued, “On the very rare occasions we take her out, it’s to see rare and exceptional guests like Caroline de Monaco, who also has a cat.”

Does Choupette have Instagram?

Choupette does not have an official Instagram account, however she does have a fan account called @choupettesdiary which boasts a following of over 118,000. Run by a digital marketing consultant called Ashley Tschudin, she revealed in an interview with Making Manhattan that “Karl Lagerfeld’s team is not directly involved in my brand”. She added, “It is often a struggle to get original content when I don’t have access to Choupette.”

Choupette also features on the official Karl Lagerfeld Instagram account.

What will happen to Choupette now that Karl Lagerfield has passed away?

There’s no official word on the fate of the beautiful Birman, however we’re sure it won’t be long before one of Lagerfeld’s friends (perhaps the cat's first owner Baptiste Giabiconi) gives her a new home.