Making The World A Better Place For Four-Legged Companions

By Lillian Langtry I Photos by Jared Siskin for PMC / Getty Images, Dave Warren

Elysian, an international luxury lifestyle brand founded by Karen Floyd and created to inspire and reflect the interests of women, held the Inaugural CatWalk FurBaby fundraiser at Sony Hall to launch New York Fashion Week 2023, hosted by Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin. The evening before, Elysian hosted a fashion fete at New York’s Lafayette 148 on Madison Avenue, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Bissell Pet Foundation.

Elysian Founder and CEO Karen Floyd conceived CatWalk FurBaby to bring together creative powerhouses, women change-makers, and animal welfare organizations to make the world better for our furry companions under the auspices of ELYSIAN Impact, the brand’s philanthropic arm.

CatWalk FurBaby paired designers, models, rescue animals, and charities together for a morning of passion with a purpose. Ten models—wearing fashions designed by designers (several of whom are members of SohoMuse), including Marc Bouwer, Malan Breton, Karen Caldwell, Anne Fontaine, Gloria Lee, Merci Dupre, Nicole Miller, Noize Apparel, Victor de Souza and Brook Wilder—each graced the runway with a four-legged companion. A panel of celebrity judges headed by Fern Mallis with Carol Alt and Karen Abercrombie handed out awards to animal welfare organizations paired with each model-and-pet team. 

The ten animal welfare organizations represented on the runway were Operation Kindness (Texas), Friends of Williamson County Animal Shelter (Tennessee), Jameson Humane (California), Danny & Ron’s Rescue (South Carolina and Florida), Big Dog Ranch Rescue (Florida), Freedom Dogs (Ohio/California), Strong Island Animal Rescue League (New York), Global Strays (New York/International), Animal Advocates of Barnwell County (South Carolina), and Companion Animal Alliance (Louisiana). In addition, puppy models for the show were provided by Rescue Dogs Rock NYC (New York) and the Spartanburg Humane Society (South Carolina). 

The Inaugural Awards presented: The Judge’s Choice: Global Strays (Designer: Gloria Lee), People’s Choice: Big Dog Ranch Rescue (Designer: Anne Fontaine), and Publishers Choice: Danny & Ron’s Rescue (Designer: Marc Bouwer).

· Global Strays has a worldwide mission to reduce the suffering of animals in impoverished regions through funding animal shelters and bringing services directly into communities to increase well-being. 

· Global Strays has a worldwide mission to reduce the suffering of animals in impoverished regions through funding animal shelters and bringing services directly into communities to increase well-being. 

· Danny & Ron’s Rescue was founded after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina to aid dogs that were left homeless by the storm and has grown to rescue puppy mill dogs, bait dogs, and shelter dogs.  

“This is the first time fashion, animals, and charity have been brought together in New York Fashion Week,” ELYSIAN Founder Karen Floyd said. “To do it in a way that will benefit the lives of countless pets adds a layer of meaning that will not soon be forgotten.”  

Cathy Bissell, the founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation, said, “Our nation’s animal shelters are facing unprecedented overcrowding due to inflation, housing restrictions, and a decrease in adoptions. BISSELL Pet Foundation is grateful to be the beneficiary charity of Catwalk FurBaby to make a difference for homeless pets in ten animal welfare organizations across the country. By supporting CatWalk FurBaby, participants will help deserving pets receive much-needed second chances through this one-of-a-kind event.”  

Notable Attendees at the Inaugural CatWalk Furbaby included; Karen Floyd, Dr. Christina Rahm, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Fern Mallis, Carol Alt, Karen Abercrombie, Alvita King, Lt. Gov. (South Carolina) Pamela Evette, Kimberli Scott, Sean Young, Evander Holyfield, Shevon Harris Holyfield, Jean Shafiroff, Cynthia Basinet, Allison Ecung Baroness von Arnim, Elizabeth da Trinidade-Asher, Casey Kohlberg, Jacqueline O’Sullivan, Stacey Silverstein, (Elizabeth Shafiroff for Global Strays, Barbara Gilbert for Big Dog Ranch, Durbin Emerson for Danny & Ron’s Rescue), Nadja Sayej, Bryan Griffin. 

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