Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So these days we all know it's undignified and wrong to rob a big cat of his freedom and turn him into a pet, which was all the rage in the roaring 20s (pardon the pun; it was hard to resist) and 30s. But there's no denying Josephine Baker looked marvellous with her leopard friend - that guy was even more even more beautiful than she was.

The Marchesa Luisa Casati (pictured, top) was also a wild cat fan, naughtily filling her garden with the magestic feline beasts - they roamed her rose beds at parties; it's a wonder none of her dinner guests became dinner.

Anyway, it's not all doom and animal rights gloom, because when Australians John Rendall and Ace Bourke invited a lion cub, Christian (pic number 3) into their London gang in the swinging 60s, he apparently had a ball and never wanted to leave. (I know because my friend Constance is mates with them, so there).

Ace and John bought Christian as a baby from Harrod's back when the famed London department store sold more interesting stuff than posh tea. The pair took him about town till he grew too big for their sports car, then released him into the Kenyan wilds. And years later when the boys went back to Africa to see Christian, he came bounding out of the savanna, purring and carrying on like a kitten in love. (Watch the doco, Christian, the Lion at World's End,if you can find it.) I love this story because it proves no matter where you live and what you're up to, you never forget your family. But this week I had reason to wonder if perhaps Ace's perfume helped a little too?

A recently released study by the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo found that big cats dig designer fragrances. Apparently, the zoo guys have been spritzing Calvin Klein's Obsession and Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps at their furry friends for years now to calm them down. I always knew cats had impeccable taste (the Bronx bunch wasn't fussed about Revlon's Charlie). Do you reckon Josephine's leopard loved her Lanvin?

Meow xxx


  1. What gorgeous pictures! Gosh it would be fantastic to strut about the city with a leopard on a leash...Alas, we are more enlightened nowadays so theatricality must suffer in the name of ethics :)