The iconic German designer and creative director of the Chanel fashion empire died in Paris on Tuesday at the age of 85 after battling pancreatic cancer.
Lagerfeld’s pet cat Choupette, a 7-year-old Birman which the designer got from French model Baptiste Giabiconi in late 2011, has become famous in her own right, establishing a social media presence consisting of 131,000 followers on Instagram, and quickly becoming associated with the designer and the fashion world in general.
In 2014, Lagerfeld co-produced a photography book entitled ‘Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Cat,’ which became a #1 best seller on Amazon. In 2015, Lagerfeld revealed that Choupette had earned 3 million euros in 2014 for participating in two ad campaigns in Germany.
The pampered feline is said to have bodyguards, two personal maids waiting on her hand and paw, as well as an on-call veterinarian. Choupette used to eat at the table with Lagerfeld, has custom dishes, and is said to occasionally enjoy a mix of king crab, smoked salmon and caviar.
Now, following the fashion guru’s death, the cat stands to inherit a slice of his estimated $273 million fortune. Lagerfeld had hinted as much in the past, once telling a French reporter “Choupette is a rich girl,” and stressing that “if anything happens the person who looks after her will not go without.”
Under French inheritance law, Lagerfeld couldn’t legally leave his wealth to his cat, However, he once told reporters that “That’s ok, because I am not French,” possibly indicating that the cash could be left in a trust.
Others joked that leaving a fortune to a cat sounded “perfectly reasonable” to them, or asked if anyone knew the procedure for getting adopted by a cat.
More serious users criticised the state of the world where a cat stands to inherit millions of dollars while millions of people go without food, or suggested the designer could have given some of his money to charity.
A year before his death, Lagerfeld indicated that he would like to be cremated and for his ashes to be dispersed along with those of his mother and his cat, if she died before him.