I once talked with Mr. Blackwell, the fashion critic who published the annual “Ten Worst Dressed Women”list (and the book “From Rags to Bitches”.) He supported animal charities, hated ridiculously dressed humans, and was practically apoplectic about people dressing up their pets.
Mr. Blackwell would surely have found suitably scathing words for Matilda’s Fashion Show at the Algonquin Hotel.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Matilda or the Algonquin Hotel. I stayed there a few years ago and was suitably greeted (i.e. ignored) by Matilda the famous hotel lobby cat. Well, make that one of the Matildas. The current one is Matilda the Third. The first Algonquin cat wandered in off the street in the 1930s, and other homeless kitties have taken her place over the years. Every hotel should adopt a homeless kitty.
Matilda was in temporary digs during a major renovation of the hotel. But to celebrate her return and doubtless get some promo in advance of New York City’s Fashion Week, the hotel threw a party and invited cats to Matilda’s Fashion Show.
What would Mr. Blackwell have said? He’d probably be apoplectic. When I interviewed him, he affected a suitably bored, mildly sarcastic, somewhat dismissive air until we got to the topic in hand: dressing up pets. He launched into a tirade of abuse, venom and vitriol against this “obscenity”, and simply wouldn’t let up. Pets, he asserted, are NOT fashion accessories.
In his place, we only have the likes of comedian Julie Klausner interviewing the somewhat poorly dressed humans who brought their absurdly overdressed cats to the party. Klausner doesn’t stoop to fawning over the ridiculous costumes, but she certainly gives the whole operation a pass.
OK, so there’s nothing wrong with putting your sunglasses on your dog (they always look cool in shades) or the occasional funny hat, say, for Halloween. But these poor cats are a whole other story.
Klausner talks to a “pet fashion expert” who tells us that the cats don’t seem to mind being primped up for the event because “they’re all from the Westchester Cat Club so they’re used to being dressed.” Translation: these are cats who spend their lives going from one cat show to another, often being bred to be sold, and always to be part of an industry that promotes squashed faces and other abnormal, often dangerously unhealthy genetic distortions.
Just generally, the cats are removed from anything that resembles their true nature and turns them into some kind of human conversation piece for people who don’t seem to have a life of their own.
Sure, the proceeds go to help homeless cats. But frankly, this poor cat looks like she needs a new home even more than she needs a new hat.