Last night, the Algonquin Hotel in midtown hosted a cat fashion show in honor of its famous cat, Matilda, to benefit to the NY Save, a charity that helps provide veterinary services. While the hotel’s bar is famous for its literary past, it also has a tradition of always having a cat named Matilda roam through the bar. There have been a series of cats all named Matilda since the 1930s, and the Algonquin currently employees a caretaker for Matilda with the title of CCO – Chief Cat Officer.
Carla Reiss of Meow Wear Custom designed and sewed all the outfits, creating each outfit to measure for each cat. Her favorite of the costumes was the Carmen Miranda number, but she admitted, “I’ve always wanted to dress a basset hound as Carmen Miranda.”
A stunning hairless sphinx named Fiona wore a flattering ensemble that evoked a fairy princess with an avant garde taffetta headpiece. At one year old, Fiona is now old enough to be competing as an adult in cat shows (the cutoff age for the kitten category is 8 months) with her human companion, Emily Green of Philadelphia. "She's been trained since she was little. She's been to a lot of shows. She's a regional winner," Ms. Green explained. "One judge said she's the most beautiful sphinx she'd ever seen."
Lightning, a current cat show champion, dazzled like a young Marcus Schenkenberg in a sleeveless red tuxedo. Lightning is a savannah cat, a new breed that is a mix of domestic cats and African servals, which are a wild breed. Savannah cats vary by how many generations removed from an actual wild serval they are – Lightning is more domestic, and looked only slightly larger than a standard housecat.
Another savannah cat, Elvis modeled a chic black leather jacket with rhinestone detail, was enormous – 25lbs – and had to be kept in a separate area from the other cats.
Daisy, a hairless from Westchester county dressed in a preppy daisy outfit, was a natural model. Her human friend Mary Beth McGowan takes Daisy boating, so Daisy has grown accustomed to wearing a tiny lifejacket. Ms. McGowan confirmed that Daisy already has a taste for the high-flying model lifestyle: "She likes being on the boat, she likes going out, we take her lots of places."
At only 7 months, Daisy was one of the youngest models, and certainly is one to watch in the competitive world of cat modeling. If she can avoid the pitfalls of the lifestyle or a catnip OD, she surely has a great career ahead of her.
Here are some of the other looks of the night: