Cat Makes Runway At New York Fashion Week

by Kashif Masood | 23:28 in , , |

Cat Makes Runway At New York Fashion Week

The buzziest new model at New York Fashion Week is a four-year-old covered in fur. Designer Tracy Reese sent a live cat, named Lily, down the runway on Sunday at New York Fashion Week. It was a first for fashion and for the feline community. As you'd imagine, it took a lot of planning and not a little backstage drama to break that cat-based glass ceiling. Here's a look at how it all went down.

It was up to Lily, an exceptionally mellow rescue cat, to carry the weight and a designer cat leash customized by Reese's team. She held it together as she was ferried down the runway by a model, only slightly alarmed by the packed audience, which included the actress Angela Basset and a woman in a pirate hat.

A collaboration between Reese and Purina One, the sponsor of the show, seemed unlikely at first. But then the designer, one of Michele Obama's favorites, had drawn inspiration for her Fall 2013 collection from four legged fur creatures. "I loved the idea of incorporating cats into the runway show," Reese said in a statement to press. "Cats have a lot of energy, which was the perfect complement to the models and my new line." 

Lily, a 4-year-old Siamese Blue Point rescue cat, made history on Sunday on designer Tracy Reese's runway show. For the first time at New York Fashion Week, a catwalk actually featured a real live cat. Can you believe it took this long?

By Sunday five cats waited in their crates backstage as models prepped for the show. Three of those five would be selected, based on their comfort level, to wear a customized Tracy Reese cat leash and walk down the runway within the hour. Everything was perfect, except the cats. Despite being comfortable during the rehearsal, the cats had some last minute jitters. According to a backstage insider, they were walking on their leash and then sitting down in place. That's a cat's way of saying, "send me out on that runway and things are going to get weird." 

She wasn't kidding. Reese's line was completely cat-inspired. There were calico-patterned dresses and coats, and cat-eye glasses. She even described the collection as "feral" in her collection's liner notes. Meanwhile, Purina One was looking to promote a new line of healthy food for indoor cats. Why not combine the two initiatives right? Not so fast. This was going to take work. 

 Several cats were considered for the show, but the five with the best temperament and--get this--the best bodies got the job. "It was important that we chose cats with a healthy body condition--not too much fat," Purina One spokesperson Nida Bockert told Yahoo Shine. By Sunday five lean cats waited in their crates backstage as models prepped for the show. For the past few weeks, the animals--who came by way of a New York animal trainer--had been prepping for their debut. They auditioned alongside models. They trained on leashes, up and down aisles in pet stores. They even practiced cat-walking at a nightclub, so they could get used to the disco lights and fist-pumping music of the runway without looking for the nearest bed to crawl under.

In the end Lily served as Fashion Week's most surprising muse, and let's be honest, one of the best accessories. All that, without setting a paw on the runway. She was carried by a model, even during the show's finale. Let's face it: you can put a leash on a cat but that doesn't mean they're going to let you use it.