AB: In other words, cattiness doesn’t have a place in fashion.
GC: No, Pumpkin is not catty.
AB: We should look up the origins of the word catty. Why catty and not doggy?
GC: I suppose cats have that look on their face, like.. “Really? Seriously?” They have that look all the time.
AB: They haven’t mastered the Front Row Mask.
GC: No. They have not. [Laughs.] Exactly.
AB: In the August 2008 issue of American Vogue, there was a story starring Karen Elson and shot by Steven Meisel that you styled. Karen’s red hair was all teased out and she was surrounded by cats. The reference was unmistakable, but in case you didn’t get the hint, the story was called Graceful Elegance.
GC: There are two ways to look like me. One way is to carry a cat under your arm, and the other is to wear a red wig. Karen didn’t need the wig. And we got the cats from the same breeder I’d gotten Pumpkin from because Pumpkin does not like to be photographed. She absolutely hates it. Well, she doesn’t mind if I photograph her – or Didier. But she does not like strangers, not even Steven Meisel who absolutely loves cats.
AB: I can imagine your cats have had many opportunities to be shot by some of the greatest photographers in the world.
GC: They’ve had offers. But they normally don’t take them. My cat Bart was photographed by Annie Leibovitz. She’s not a cat person. I chose Bart because he was the most tolerant to outside people, but Annie expected him to be able to do exactly as he was told. She said the editing was incredibly difficult, not because of me, but because of the cat.
AB: Being able to navigate all the personalities in the fashion world and to get your own way must have served you well throughout your career. That strikes me as a very feline trait.
GC: Is it?
AB: Well, if you look at Bart not bending to the will of Annie Leibovitz. I don’t think very many humans have ever succeeded in that.
GC: I hadn’t thought of it like that. No, I don’t bend to people very easily. It is a battle of wills always. I always remember one of my school reports said, sarcastically, I had a sweet way of getting my own will. So I guess it dates back.