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Fashion People And Their Fashion Cats

Photo: Courtesy of Alice Gao.

A fashion cat isn’t simply born into high style status—one is groomed for the title. But as these 11 lucky cats can attest, ascending the feline style hierarchy comes easy when you’ve got a loving and equally chic human friend to call your own.

As the American Humane Association has dubbed June the official “Adopt-a-Cat Month,” we thought it fitting to highlight some of our favorite fashion notables—including all-star designers, DJs, models, and editors—along with their furry counterparts.

Their sophisticated taste in fine leather goods and French pastries (optimal dining hours are when nobody’s looking) and penchant for playful mischief prove there’s a reason why these fashion cats rule their owners’ hearts—not to mention the cashmere sweater accidentally left on the floor.

 HARLEY VIERA-NEWTON
MODEL, DJ
MARMITE + TARZAN

HVNPhoto: Via @harleyvnewton.

What are your cats’ names?
I have two cats! I have a black cat called Marmite and a Bengal kitten called Tarzan. Marmite came to me and just felt right, and my best friend Cassie saw a photo of Tarzan and said, “That’s a leopard Tarzan cat!” and the name stuck.

Where did you get your cats?
I adopted Marmite from a shelter called Bidawee. They found her in a box in Chinatown. My boyfriend gave me Tarzan for Christmas.

What are their favorite activities?
Marmite likes bird watching and sleeping. Tarzan loves to shower. Every single day, she gets completely into the shower with me and sits at my feet soaking. It’s a mystery as to why—she’s a special cat!

Who are your cats’ spirit people?
Marmite is Lady Grantham from Downtown Abbey—a real diva, and she always shakes her head at Tarzan disapprovingly when she does something silly and kitten-like. And I know this is a piglet and not a person, but Tarzan really reminds me of Babe—very talkative, very curious, and always getting into trouble.

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
Marmite would definitely get me Barneys’ waffle-knit throw because she knows I love a cozy blanket, but more importantly, because SHE does. Her favorite thing in the world is to curl up into a ball on anything cashmere I leave around, and it’s very hard to move her once she’s found it.

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CHRISTENE BARBERICH
EDITOR IN CHIEF, REFINERY29
PHOEBE

Christene_2_ptsh
Photo: Courtesy of Christene Barberich.

What is your cat’s name?
Her name was originally Cora when we fostered her. We changed it to Phoebe after we adopted her. But honestly, I just call her Muffin. I don’t know why—it’s just what I’m compelled to say when I see her. I’m not sure she likes it though. She is a very dignified cat, and I suspect the name Muffin makes her grumpy.

Where did you get your cat?
From the foster program at Hope Veterinary Care in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. They are wonderful and still trim her nails for me every month since doing so totally freaks me out.

What is Phoebe’s favorite activity?
Either sliding down our hallway and into a white curtain divider to catch “mousey,” her favorite pink toy that my husband taught her to fetch, or just sitting in the teeny tiny bathroom window whose sill seems made for her. From there, she can watch all the birds and critters doing their thing in the backyard.

Who is Phoebe’s spirit person?
I honestly think she might have reincarnated from my very first cat Buddy, whom I had a very close and complicated relationship with (aren’t they all?). They have a lot of similar qualities.  While Buddy was hit by a motorcycle and had pins put into his left hip, Phoebe was also hit by a car and had to have her back leg and hip removed right before we got her. Honestly, three legs doesn’t deter her. She’s a little anarchist—I think four legs would insult her.

Who is Phoebe’s favorite fashion designer?
Phoebe and I share a deep and powerful love of everything and anything Dries Van Noten. She likes to sit on my lap if I’m at my desk perusing his shoes and dresses. That jolie laide kind of vibe really speaks to us.

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MARIA CORNEJO
DESIGNER, ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO
ZIGGY

Maria Cornejo and catPhoto by Bibi Cornejo Borthwick.

What is your cat’s name?
Ziggy.

Where did you get your cat?
Ziggy is a mutt. We found him on the beach in Tulum, Mexico, about five years ago.

What is Ziggy’s favorite activity?
Hiding in the garden, playing in the bamboo!

How would you describe Ziggy’s personality? 
He’s an angry teenager!

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
He loves lying on my black clothes and covering them in his cat hair. He knows good textiles, so he’d definitely buy me my Rio jacquard jacket.

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KAREN ELSON
MUSICIAN, MODEL
ANNIE + FERGUS

Karen Elson and catPhoto: Via @misskarenelson.

What are your cats’ names?
Annie and Fergus. They were the names the shelter gave them and they seemed to fit.

Where did you get your cats?
I got them from a shelter after they were rescued from a dumpster at two weeks old.

How would you describe their personalities? 
My cat Annie is a feisty punky kitty. My cat Fergus is debonair.

If Annie and Fergus had carte-blanche access to Barneys what would they get?
Annie would wear Tabitha Simmons Early boots in red with a Saint Laurent babycat backpack. She’d play with a Seven Smooches cat hand-puppet in a Stella McCartney cat-in-glass t-shirt while she wore Jin Soon nail polish on her claws. Fergus would wear a Rag & Bone summer fedora paired with a Barbour slicker while playing with a Barneys backgammon set. (He also loves reading Grace Coddington’s The Catwalk Cats.)

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RUTHIE FRIEDLANDER
DEPUTY WEB EDITOR, ELLE
GRACIE

Ruthie Friedlander and catPhoto by Amy Davis.

What is your cat’s name?
Her name is Gracie, for her beautiful gray coat. I wanted to come up with a name that was as regal as she is.

What prompted you to get a cat?
At the time I was working at Chanel and worked occasionally with Elle accessories editor Maria Dueñas Jacobs. She posted some photos of her adorable cat Frankie on Instagram, so I contacted her to ask her where she got her. The rest is history.

What is Gracie’s favorite activity?
Sleeping with her stuffed lobster, brainstorming/editing articles for Elle.com, and, obviously, online shopping.

Who is Gracie’s spirit person?
I think I’d have to go with Lee Radziwill, mostly because she exudes elegance and has impeccable personal style (which Gracie shows thanks to her fur).

If Gracie were to buy you one thing from Barneys what would it be?
Gracie, at her core, epitomizes chicness. I think it would be really difficult for her to choose just one thing from all of Barneys, but since she’d want to enjoy it, too, I think she’d stay on the main floor in the jewelry section. She knows I’m a huge fan of Sidney Garber jewelry and have been admiring the gold Tivoli bracelet for years. I’d wear it as bracelet, and Gracie, naturally would sport it as a necklace. Win-win!

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Alice Gao
PHOTOGRAPHER
Avedon

Alice Gao and catPhoto: Courtesy of Alice Gao.

What is your cat’s name?
Avedon, after Richard Avedon, who was a huge inspiration to me at the time I got my cat. No one actually calls him that, though. It’s far too dignified of a name for him!

Where did you get your cat?
I adopted him from a foster home. He was about seven or eight months at the time, so he wasn’t tiny but not full-grown yet either.

What is Avedon’s favorite activity?
Eating everything in sight. And sleeping on (I mean, ruining) expensive office chairs.

Who is Avedon’s spirit person and why?
Augustus Gloop, because he really does try to eat everything and doesn’t stop! Before we got a covered trash can, I’d often wake up in the middle of the night to find an overturned trash with any and all food bits dug out of it. He ate an entire cannelé from Dominique Ansel once and half a box of macarons because I didn’t secure them properly. He loves carbs, peony leaves, and kimchi. Go figure.

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
A fancy lipstick, because he enjoys swatting the tubes around as if they’re his mouse toys.

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Tommy DobrzynskI
VICE PRESIDENT, VISUALS, BARNEYS NEW YORK
Wagashi

tommy-laskaDobrzynski Family Portrait Painting by Sadie Laska.

What is your cat’s name?
Wagashi, which is a small Japanese confectionery– a name that matches her perfectly.  It’s also much more fun to say than ‘Erin,’ which was the name given to her by the shelter we adopted her from.

Where did you get your cat?
My wife Brynn saw her in our pet store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. North Shore Animal League had started a program with local pet stores to bring in cats from the shelter for adoption, and she was the first cat of many to be adopted this way!

What is Wagashi’s favorite activity?
The daily practice of yoga is important to her, and I am being serious.  She loves to stretch out with Brynn every morning on her yoga mat and try new poses. When I lived in Hong Kong, there were always cats around people doing Tai Chi – it’s good energy.

Who is Wagashi’s spirit person?
Kim Gordon—someone with a quiet intensity, a bit wild, and entirely deliberate in all of her moves. Wagashi has a split ear and a cracked front tooth, so she was also a bit punk in her early NYC years.

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
Anything she gave us would quickly become hers, so I suspect she would be quite happy with the ‘Pride’ tumbler by Stefan Sagmeister for Lobmeyer. Wagashi loves to drink out of a glass every now and then, which I suppose is completely normal. The lion on the bottom of the glass is a bonus.

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Vashtie
DJ, DIRECTOR, DESIGNER
Vladimir

Vashtie-2
Photo: Courtesy of Vashtie.

What is your cat’s name?
Well, he’s a Russian Blue and I wanted to be true to his Russian heritage. His full name is Vladimir Nikolai Olig.

Where did you get your cat?
I found an adoption agency in Queens on PetFinder.com that had Russian Blues. I had just watched a show about cat breeds on Animal Planet and Russian Blues seemed to fit my personality. When my friends Elle and Scott and I ventured out with a Zipcar to pick a kitty, he was the last one we saw. All the other kitties were covering and protecting him because he was the smallest of the bunch. When I saw his little fur face, I knew he was mine.

What is Vladimir’s favorite activity?
He loves to play fetch and eat and sleep. Basically all the things I love to do, except play fetch.

Who is Vladimir’s spirit person and why?
I can’t think of anyone specific, but he seems to be like a quiet and very sensitive man that loves women. Maybe his spirit person is an artist. Hmm…Picasso?

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
He would buy me a new Balenciaga bag, as he has dug his nails into my current one. Maybe his Russian blood doesn’t like French fashion? Who knows.

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ALEXANDER DREXLER
DESIGNER, ALEX MILL
MISHA

Alex Drexler and catPhoto: Courtesy of Alexander Drexler.

What is your cat’s name?
My cat’s name is Misha. There’s no romantic story other than it just seemed to fit her name well.

Where did you get your cat?
Sadly, Misha was found at the bottom of a dumpster living with other members of her family. Someone rescued her and her family and gave them to a pet store hoping to give them a better life! My girlfriend found her there. Seeing how much she loves to sleep and eat, it seems like she’s much happier now.

What is Misha’s favorite activity?
Her favorite activity is running in circles around the apartment.  Just like dogs need to be taken for a walk, Misha loves the opportunity to race around tiring herself out and preparing for the next nap.

Who is Misha’s spirit person?
Misha’s spirit person is her long lost sister. After escaping from dumpster life, she never got a chance to see her other family members again. However, I am confident she thinks about her sister on a regular basis and hopes she’s having a good life.

If your cat were to buy you one thing from Barneys, what would it be?
When I am packing for a trip, Misha loves to jump inside the suitcase. Besides running in circles, there are not many things that make her happier than relaxing in an suitcase. Thus, I’d have to say her favorite item might be a suitcase, like a Rimowa multiwheel trolley.

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For those “dog people” out there who prefer sloppy kisses over loving doses of feline side-eye, check out Joseph Altuzzara and Bean the Schnauzer (and other stylish canines) over here.

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