Stepping out at the Met Gala 2023 (her first ever!), Doja Cat instantly delivered one of the evening’s most Internet-breaking moments by channeling the one and only Choupette, Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved cat. “It makes no sense for anyone to go as Karl’s cat more than Doja Cat,” says Brett Alan Nelson, her creative director and stylist who refers to the artist by her given name, Amala Zandile Dlamini. The pair spent six months working with Oscar de La Renta’s co-creative director Fernando Garcia on Doja’s completely hand-beaded gown featuring a face-framing hood punctuated by a pair of cat ears. “Oscar and Karl were very close,” he says. “And the look feels very Oscar, but also like something Chanel could do at a couture show.”
Of course, it was Doja Cat’s idea to bring prosthetics into the beauty mix. “Amala and I were very clear that we didn’t want it to feel like a costume, and when you’re adding that element of prosthetics, you’re riding a very fine line,” says Alan Nelson of reaching out to prosthetic artist Malina Stearns for an elegant homage to the feline heiress. “She’s not furry, but I had images of Choupette as references,” says Stearn, who cast Doja Cat’s face for a molding about two months ago, perfecting the shape of the “sculpt” over time to get it perfect.