Will Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat Choupette Inherit the Late Designer’s Fortune?

French fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, and his beloved cat Choupette could inherit his fortune.

The Chanel creative director adopted Choupette in 2011. The Birman cat quickly became a celebrity in her own right, with nearly 250,000 people following her luxurious, pampered lifestyle on Instagram. Now, the fashionable feline could become the richest cat in the world, according to CNBC, depending on how much money Lagerfeld left to her.

Lagerfeld previously said Choupette was a “heiress”

Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses next to a photo of himself and his cat Choupette. | Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Lagerfeld doted on Choupette, who came into his life as a kitten. Model Baptiste Giabiconi asked the iconic designer to cat-sit the 3-month-old kitten in 2011, and he fell in love with her.

“[W]hen she came back 2 weeks later I said ‘I am sorry Choupette will stay,” Lagerfeld told People in 2013. Under Lagerfeld’s care, Choupette ate off fine china and traveled with him around the world.

In 2015, Lagerfeld explained that his cat would continue her life of luxury even after he died. “Choupette is a rich girl,” he said, according to French newspaper Le Figaro.

“If something happens to me, the person who will take care of her will not be in misery,” he added.

Last year, Lagerfeld described his Instafamous cat as a “heiress,” but added that she wasn’t his sole heir. “Among others, yes. Don’t worry, there is enough for everyone,” he told Numero. Lagerfeld was worth an estimated $200 million at the time of his death.

Can Choupette really inherit?

Happy #FathersDay Daddy @karllagerfeld. Thank you for bringing me into the (fashion) world.

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on Jun 18, 2017 at 10:10am PDT

Some people might think it strange to leave a multi-million-dollar fortune to a pet, but it’s hardly unheard of. In 1991, a German countess left $80 million to her dog, Gunther. His descendant, Gunther IV, is now worth an estimated $370 million, according to Vanity Fair. Maria Assunta left $13 million to her cat when she died in 2011. By leaving money to Choupette, Lagerfeld would be joining a long line of wealthy people who wanted to ensure that their pets would be well taken care after their death.

When he revealed his plans to name Choupette his heir to Numero last year, Lagerfeld was told that under French law, animals could not inherit. The German-born Lagerfeld replied that it was “lucky” he wasn’t French.

Money left to pets is usually placed in a trust, according to Vanity Fair. A trustee oversees the money, while a caretaker receives money from the trust to provide for the pet. A third person – an enforcer – might also be involved to make sure funds aren’t misappropriated.

Whatever money Choupette receives from Lagerfeld’s estate will be added to her own fortune. She’s reportedly already worth about $3.4 million, according to France 24, money that she made by starring in ads for a German car company and a Japanese cosmetics brand.

What will happen to Choupette?

Thank you everyone for your words of condolence. With a once cold but now simply broken heart, I am going into mourning. I pray that your kind words and well-wishes will help me to put my best paw forward in my future without Daddy @KarlLagerfeld & as my own woman.

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on Feb 20, 2019 at 3:28pm PST

Right now, Choupette is mourning the loss of her “Daddy,” according to a post on her Instagram, which was accompanied by a photo of the cat wearing a black veil. (Ashley Tschudin runs Choupette’s social media accounts.)

“He was a true icon who touched the lives of everyone he came in contact with, especially moi,” Choupette wrote in a post on her blog. “He will forever live in my now broken heart and the hearts of all his supporters around the world.”

There’s been no announcement about where Choupette will live in the future, but with two maids attending to her every need, she surely being well taken care of.

Lagerfeld, who was known for his prickly personality, said that Choupette changed his life for the better.

“Perhaps, she helped me to become a nicer person,” he told People. “Because there is something very touching about her you see.”


Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies

Image result for Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld DiesFashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85. He was Chanel’s creative director for decades, and he was a symbol of fashion itself with his signature fingerless gloves and other bold gestures. Lagerfeld balanced the luxury brand’s tradition with the excitement of the future. NPR’s Andrew Limbong has this appreciation.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Karl Lagerfeld always wanted to be a grown-up. He was born in Hamburg, Germany. And he was always very cagey about telling people when, but most reports say 1933. Here’s what he said about being a kid in a 2017 CNBC interview.


KARL LAGERFELD: I hated to be a child. That’s why I could speak English, German and French when I was 6. I never played with children. I only was sketching and reading.

LIMBONG: He took that drive to Paris, where he began working in the fashion industry as an assistant. And in 1954, he saw something that would stick with him for decades – Coco Chanel’s postwar fashion show, her first in over a decade. Here’s how Lagerfeld described it to NPR in 2005.


LAGERFELD: I liked it because for me, it was an evocation of something I had missed – life from before World War II and all that.

LIMBONG: It was a moment that inspired him so much that he wrote and directed a short film about it in 2013 called “The Return.” It reveals how Lagerfeld presents Coco Chanel as both ambitious and frustrated, here played by Geraldine Chaplin.


GERALDINE CHAPLIN: (As Coco Chanel) This collection is not about fun. It’s about giving a new, modern look to fashion.

LIMBONG: Giving fashion new and modern looks is what Karl Lagerfeld was all about, says fashion historian Valerie Steele. She is the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

VALERIE STEELE: He was like a chameleon. His style changed according to who he was designing for and when.

LIMBONG: Steele says that by the time Karl Lagerfeld became creative director for Chanel in 1983, it was in dire need of its own comeback.

STEELE: He was like an emergency doctor who applied, you know, electric shock to this corpse and suddenly brought it back to life and made it super exciting and fashionable so that instead of, you know, just a handful of leftover – old ladies wearing it, all kinds of young women suddenly thought, whoa. Chanel is cool again.

LIMBONG: Karl Lagerfeld worked relentlessly not just at Chanel, but as the creative director for Fendi, as well as his own label. Benoit Peverelli is a fashion photographer who shot for Lagerfeld for the past 10 years.

BENOIT PEVERELLI: He was very impressive in that sense that he could talk to – and I went to a sitting next to him – and at the same time, with a laser light eye, modify a silhouette by a few inches there or the shoulder or the length of a skirt.

LIMBONG: But Lagerfeld was not without controversy. For example, he recently dismissed models complaining of being groped while at work, telling them to, quote, “join a nunnery.” That said, he’s still remembered fondly by peers and colleagues – competitors, even. It was Bernard Arnault from the luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, who said, quote, “We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration.” Andrew Limbong, NPR News.



Designer Profile: Lowell Strauss of Amalfi West

Despite his penchant for building multimillion-dollar dream estates, Lowell Strauss likes to keep a low profile. The business he runs with his wife, Jacqueline, Amalfi West, has no website, and Strauss sidesteps social media.

“In a past life, I was a software architect, so I am supposed to love technology,” he said. “The truth is I don’t. I would prefer to live a more holistic life without social media and the like.”

Strauss hails from Waterloo, an Ontario town about 90 minutes from Toronto. He worked in construction during high school and college and grew up in a house his father designed. Strauss’ father ultimately became a commercial real estate developer and builder, after dropping out of high school to run his parent’s press shop.

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That connection to nature and the elements drives his design philosophy.

He credits this appreciation to his interactions with the Anishinaabe and Ojibwe, indigenous peoples found in Northwestern Ontario.

“When I was younger, I spent months each year planting trees and living deep in the northwestern Ontario wilderness. I lived in a tent, and worked alongside native people, who had this otherworldly contentedness to nature. Indigenous people have a connection to the Earth that we have lost,” he said. “It may sound ridiculous, a guy building multimillion-dollar homes talking about these things, but this is what inspires my wife and I.”

In this interview with The Chronicle, Strauss talks about how he and his wife select building sites, the biggest hurdles he faces and an engineering advancement that’s fundamentally changed the way they design.

Q: How do you select sites for development?

A: We invest in real estate all along the coast. We look for unique and spectacular natural settings. We are very selective about the properties we purchase. Every property has to speak to us for some reason or another. We trend toward spectacular views, oceanfront homes or land with a natural element that sets them apart. Topography is very important since we look for sites that allow for indoor/outdoor living. Having the topography that allows for easy access to the outdoors without much effort but still allows for privacy, expansive outdoor spaces and best views is very challenging.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

A: Usually it’s the design review process, and sometimes dealing with unfriendly neighbors. It’s very hard not to take it personally when you are so passionate about what you are doing. I mean, yes, we are developers and are out to make a profit, but that is not what drives our process. We don’t even think about budget when we design something. We think about creating the greatest thing we can imagine, and an integral part of that is how that thing fits into the natural environment. I think our work in the end speaks for itself. For us, leaving something magnificent behind, that people can walk past, and it really makes them happy, just like when you first look at a magnificent piece of art, that’s everything to us.

Q: How do you go about selecting fits and finishes for a home?

A: The materials must serve a purpose in terms of how we want a particular space to feel. Every room in our houses has something special about it. We try and always use natural materials like stone, wood, steel or concrete to speak to that. Stone, to me, is very emotional. We once took slabs of fossilized boulders from an ancient landslide and sandblasted them. We used them to panel the walls of a bathroom and it created this incredible three-dimensional effect that people really responded to.

Our Belvedere project has these incredible indoor/outdoor spas in some of the key bathrooms, and will be made from stone slabs with a leathered finish, which will make sitting in them feel soft, sexy and supple.

Q: What enables you to have such substantial indoor/outdoor living designs?

A: We spend a lot of time researching the glazing of the windows and doors we use. We want massive openings, with transparent minimalistic frames, that allow us to literally have walls of glass that make the building feel sheltered, yet transparent. The selection of this type of window and door system has really taken us to the pinnacle of architecture and design. There are incredibly expensive products out there that let you achieve incredible feats of engineering while providing the structural rigidity that is required for such massive open spaces.


How Australian theatre is failing its sound designers and composers

A white middle-aged man in a theatre, with a guitar and headphones, frowning

“In the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of my colleagues drop out of the industry; a lot of them burn out and suffer serious mental health crises,” Edmondson told the ABC.

“David White’s letter resonated with me. We’re not far off that situation happening in Australia and I’ve seen people come uncomfortably close to that kind of point in their life because of the pressure in the job, and lack of understanding and support.”

Two jobs for the price of one

“Sound and composition … has the ability to truly creep its way into the back of the minds of the audience and help shape their engagement with the play, without being particularly overt. I think that’s a lot of the reason why it’s often overlooked,” Edmondson says.

Sound designers are responsible for all the sound elements in a production, from sound effects and mic-ing up performers to setting up speaker systems.

Edmondson, whose recent credits include Sydney Theatre Company’s award-winning six-hour epic The Harp In The South (sound designer, working with composer The Sweats) and Blackie Blackie Brown(assistant sound designer, to designer/composer Steve Toulmin), says sound designers often resort to unexpected sounds to achieve the desired effect.

In Blackie Blackie Brown, for example, Edmondson had to ask himself: “What is the sound of a giant pair of testicles exploding? … You’ve got to get creative.”

One solution? The “mating cry of foxes” — which when slowed-down sounds “low and haunting”.

A grey-haired middle-aged man with headphones around his neck gazes moodily into the cameraPHOTO: Stefan Gregory is a composer and sound designer who has been working in Australian theatre for 15 years. (ABC Arts: Teresa Tan)

Composers, meanwhile, write and arrange music for a production — but in today’s theatre, the roles of composer and sound designer are often combined.

Stefan Gregory, who won Best Sound Design at this year’s Sydney Theatre Awards for his work on The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (STC), is a composer and sound designer who has been working in Australian theatre for 15 years.

Gregory says the trend towards combining the two roles emerged within the last 10 years, as composers increasingly began to work electronically.

To hear this story and all the latest stories from stages across the country and beyond, subscribe to The Stage Show.

“The composition/sound design is expected to be fed actively into the room right through the rehearsal process,” Edmondson says.

After the day’s rehearsal, the sound designer/composer writes and mixes the music before programming it into the software. Then (hopefully) the director approves — or they’re forced to go back to the drawing board.

“Once you hit the theatre [for tech week] … you tend to come in for a 9am start and you’ll tend to work through till the theatre closes, which is generally 11pm. But larger productions you might not be out the door until midnight,” says Edmondson.

“If you’re a composer, you go home and sometimes rewrite a whole piece of music and you might be up to 3 or 4am and then back into the theatre early again.”

Gregory concurs, saying that in the final weeks of rehearsals he often works between 90 to 100-hour weeks.

And it’s not just the hours that are taxing.

“You’ve got to put your soul into this music — with the knowledge that someone’s going to listen to it for about three seconds and go ‘Nup, that’s not right’,” he says.

He estimates the ratio of music abandoned as opposed to used in the production as 10:1.

“The sound designers and composers I know all work extraordinarily hard and kill themselves, pretty much.”

Living ‘hand-to-mouth’

J David Franzke is a Melbourne-based Green Room Award-winning sound designer and composer who has worked in the industry for 25 years. Last year, he worked on Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of The Architect; currently he is working on Malthouse’s forthcoming production of Cloudstreet.

“If you’re working as a sound designer in live theatre you’re doing it as a passion. It’s not a sensible career choice,” Franzke says.

A middle-aged white man sits at a desk working on his computer, a dog in his lapPHOTO: Franzke describes his financial circumstances as “hand-to-mouth”. (ABC RN: Hannah Reich)

“I feel like I’ve spent the best part of 25 years with my nose down, tail up, just boring along working. I’ve popped out the other side and gone: ‘Oh! Where are all the things you’re meant to have when you’re almost 50?’ Like a house or a car, I don’t have any of that.”

Franzke works for 6-week blocks at a time on shows.

He describes his financial circumstances as “hand-to-mouth”.

Edmondson says he’s able to make a living wage but that he puts his “hourly rate for theatre work at between $15 and $18 per hour”. In his Facebook post, he said: “The janitors make more money out of my shows than I do (no shade to janitors, of course).”

Gregory says the hourly rate for being both composer and sound designer is “not good”, and says he chooses to work for companies that pay on the higher end of the industry’s spectrum.

“I will be going back to finding work as computer programmer this year — despite being one of the most in-demand in my field and having plenty of shows offered to me in Australia and overseas — because I want more free time to work on projects that are meaningful to me.”

The changing scope of sound design

A hand with wedding ring and watch adjusting knobs on a sound deskPHOTO: Sound design has changed significantly in the last 10 years. (ABC Arts: Teresa Tan)

“Sound designers/composers are paid a flat fee and that hasn’t really changed much at all in the last 10 years,” Edmonson says.

“It’s been fairly static — as have most of the fees of other creative departments — but unlike other departments, sound design has changed a lot in its scope in that time.”

With the rise of prestige TV, theatre audiences have come to expect more complex and immersive sound design, and technology has emerged that can realise that.

These developments have meant that delivery time for work has been cut down while tech costs have gone up. Edmondson says sound professionals need between $10-20,000 worth of equipment to start out in the industry.

Inequity in the industry

In order to remedy “the significant gender inequity” in the industry, Theatre Networks Australia has compiled a list of female, non-binary, and trans designers.

But one woman who has been working regularly in Australian theatre as a sound designer and composer is Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers, with recent credits including cabaret show Hot Brown Honey and The Longest Minute (a co-production by Queensland Theatre and JUTE Theatre Company).

A black woman with a mic singing in front of a laptop on stage.PHOTO: Sound designer and composer Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers says the theatre industry is not conducive to being a mother. (Supplied: Sean Young)

“I’m a mother and the theatre is not very conducive to that — especially [the role] of a sound artist. It’s a lot of late nights, and I wouldn’t say that I’m treated that great,” Bowers says.

“The last project I did seven drafts … a lot of that is hours that aren’t paid for,” she adds.

And it’s not just late nights that Bowers has to contend with.

“[I deal with] attitudes, ideas that because you’re a black woman, a woman of colour, that you’re only going to have a certain skill base, that you only work in a certain way … insidious stuff that is full-on.”

Better pay, recognition and education

While other designers in theatre are represented by the Australian Production Design Guild, Edmondson says sound designers are lacking specific union representation to advocate for change.

Yet, the time might be ripe for change.

“With all the cultural shift that we’re seeing in theatre at the moment surrounding safe spaces, mental health, appropriate behaviour and inclusion … I think that’s really opened the door for more honest, frank conversations,” says Edmonson.

“I’m seeing people really suffering from being overwhelmed and burnt out by this workload and … there’s such a small pool already in the industry to begin with, we just can’t afford to lose these people.”

The answer for Edmondson is better pay, improved mental health support, and bringing composers and sound designers on board earlier in the production process.

All of the practitioners interviewed for this piece feel that raising awareness is a crucial part of effecting change.

“It is about actually recognising the workload and recognising the number of hours [involved],” says Bowers.

Gregory says: “I think what’s really happening for the role is that it’s just become a lot more work than it used to be 10 years ago, and I think theatre companies haven’t really caught up … I find that I have to explain my role to pretty much every theatre company I work for.”




NYFW: A Celebration of Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

The one-night-only installation showcased the cultural relevancy of Carter’s work today in themed vignettes such as “Women In Protest” and “The Hero.”

Ruth E. Carter looked around the fifth-floor space at New York’s Spring Studios, where roughly 30 costumes from her 30-year career were arranged in a half-dozen vignettes, and she couldn’t help but appreciate the full-circle moment. “I beat these streets for years, looking for costumes, creating costumes for Spike Lee, riding the subways of New York as a stylist, as a costume designer,” Carter said. “I did everything in this city, so coming back here with my clothes and my exhibition is a really proud moment for me and is all about coming home to the city that I love.”

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for IMG

Carter is currently enjoying high-wattage attention largely due to her Oscar-nominated designs for 2018’s Black Panther – a “Heroes and Sheroes” exhibition featuring her work has been touring the U.S. since that film premiered last February (pieces are included in the 27th annual “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design” exhibition at  L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising through April 12). Wednesday night’s event, which doubled as a kick-off party for fall 2019 New York Fashion Week, highlighted the marriage of film and fashion woven through the thread of Carter’s designs.

“Every time you go to a fashion photo shoot, you’ll find inspiration images on the wall, and many times they come from film,” noted Ivan Bart, president of IMG Fashion. “When I first met with Ruth [in November], I told her, ‘You have to understand, you’re inspiring a whole new generation of fashion designers.’ I wanted to create an event that showcased that combination of inspiration and aspiration, and how that extends to interpretation.”

Anna Webber/Getty Images for IMG
CEO and founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row Brandice N. Daniel, honoree Ruth E. Carter and president of IMG Models and IMG Fashion Properties Ivan Bart.

Bart partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row, the organization that works to increase visibility for multicultural designers, and enlisted British stylist Ibrahim Kamara to create looks head-to-toe inspired by the range of Carter’s designs, dating to her first film, the 1988 blaxploitation parody I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. The result was a group of six vignettes populated by live models and mannequins: Carter’s yellow suit from that film, complete with goldfish shoes, was placed alongside a model wearing Kamara’s modern interpretation of the look in a vignette titled “Fly Guys.”

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

Other themes ranged from “Women in Protest,” which included Carter’s designs for 1992’s Malcolm X, 1989’s Do The Right Thing and 2015’s Chi-Raq, to “The Bad Boys,” which featured pieces like the Giorgio Armani laser-cut leather coat worn by Samuel L. Jackson as part of Carter’s work in 2000’s Shaft.

A vignette titled “The Hero”  extended beyond a look worn by Chadwick Boseman in Black Pantherto include Carter’s designs for Denzel Washington in Malcolm X and David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in 2014’s Selma. Kamara took those ideas and created a modern-day LGBTQ freedom fighter in a silk white suit with a printed overcoat.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

“Ibrahim is so humble, and he’s a genius,” Carter said. “There were no egos here; we appreciated each other. I know I pushed him and inspired him, and he inspired me with his quiet confidence.”

Of course, that begs the question: Who or what inspires Ruth Carter? You only have to look at her work to know the answer. “Some people think I got into costume design because I love Dior and Chanel and Tom Ford, but it really was these stories of African-American culture, this story of our journey,” she said. “When I started, I didn’t see very much of us, and I really in my heart wanted to tell my stories. Tonight is the result of 30 years of hard, hard work.”




Acclaimed fashion designer Victoria Cascajo’s home sale sewn up

The East Gippsland home of a late fashion designer whose daring design shocked the White House will be restored to its former glory following its sale.

A Melbourne couple snapped up Victoria Cascajo’s six-bedroom, four-bathroom house at 105 Mathiesons Rd, Eagle Point for an undisclosed price after being wowed by its “magical location”, Elders Real Estate Bairnsdale’s Adam Bloem said.

The 2.5ha property overlooking the Gippsland Lakes, named Riverside, most recently had a $1.4-$1.6 million price guide.

Cascajo designed this daring white dress, worn by Sonia McMahon at a White House dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon. She accompanied husband William McMahon, then-Australian PM.

Cascajo designed this daring white dress, worn by Sonia McMahon at a White House dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon. She accompanied husband William McMahon, then-Australian PM.Source:Supplied

Cascajo ran the popular Balencia Couture in Toorak.

Cascajo ran the popular Balencia Couture in Toorak.Source:News Limited

Mr Bloem said the buyers had started a business in East Gippsland and would be moving to the area over the coming months, with plans to rejuvenate the house and its vast gardens.

“They’re looking forward to enjoying this magic location and the surrounding Gippsland Lakes, rivers, beaches and mountains,” he said.

Cascajo owned the property from 2014. She died in 2017.

105 Mathiesons Rd offered striking lake views over a 25m infinity pool.

105 Mathiesons Rd offered striking lake views over a 25m infinity pool.Source:Supplied

Inside the Mediterranean-inspired house.

Inside the Mediterranean-inspired house.Source:Supplied

Her most famous creation was a bold white dress prime minister William McMahon’s wife Sonia wore to a White House state dinner hosted by US president Richard Nixon in 1971.

The full-length gown — with side splits on the bodice and arms, held together by rhinestone bands, and to the upper thigh — was dubbed one of the “most talked-about costumes yet to appear in the White House” by The Washington Post.

The Spanish-born designer also dressed socialites, models and Melbourne Cup attendees from her Toorak-based Balencia Couture, becoming a Stonnington Fashion Hall of Fame inductee.

The entertainer’s kitchen.

The entertainer’s kitchen.Source:Supplied

The property was most recently priced at $1.4-$1.6 million.

The property was most recently priced at $1.4-$1.6 million.Source:Supplied

Her property features a Mediterranean-inspired house with a wraparound veranda, informal and formal living rooms, a large kitchen with a butler’s pantry, a wine cellar and lake views from almost every room.

A 25m infinity pool, self-contained cottage, orchard and vegetable garden were also part of the package.