Models: Are You Human? Are You Dancer? Or Are You Cat?

“I learned how to track animals at a wilderness survival camp. One of the methods used for identifying a species’ prints is in calculating the animal’s straddle, the distance of the hoof or paw out from an imaginary central line. Only one species has negative straddle, where the feet actually crisscross over that line: cats. And runway models.” – David Rakoff, Don’t Get Too Comfortable

It is a universal truth that models are tall, lithe, with legs that begin where my eyes barely reach and holster the languid arms of an artist’s croquis. While many argue that clothes are put on them because they look good and this is because of weight, I would like to counter that it might, in fact, be because of their movement; “That characteristic slouching, ball-bearing-hipped sashay,” wrote Rakoff of their walking abilities.

In a song titled ‘Human,’ The Killers sing a question that we’d like to put forward to these models: Are you human? Or are you dancer?

“Or are you cat?” as the late David Rakoff so poetically implied.

To which we really have to wonder, exclamate — and please join us, if you will — cogitate:


And if you’re still not sure and are thinking, “How do they walk like what?” then I kindly ask you to turn your attention to the photos above.

On the left we have an ad for Saint Laurent, and on the right an image from 10 Crosby Derek Lam’s SS14 look book: Back arched, hips out, shoulders forward with their legs in what can only be described as a jaunt, it seems like a physical anomaly that they can walk in such large strides. And remember, they don’t just walk, they saunter, like a red-maned lion on the Serengeti. They defy the physics of confirmation.

A croquis, which I mentioned earlier, is a type of drawing that fashion illustrators produce wherein the proportions are technically incorrect; the necks are too long, the legs three times or more the length of the torso. Each artist has their own math, but the general refusal to accept anatomical correctness is a stylistic choice. They chose to draw these models as feline aliens. Why? Because like the Modigliani-necked women who will display designer clothes twice a year, everything looks better when it’s larger than life.

And now, I ask all the Safari-heads, ballet patrons and cat enthusiasts in the house to kindly stand up. Scientists, we may need you also. Share your wisdom with us. How do models walk like this? Is it because they are, in fact, otherworldly creatures? We already know they are exceptionally attractive. Or does the length of their limbs allow them to do things that my five foot frame simply cannot comprehend? Have they watched A LOT of Miss Jay? MAYBE they were just really good at navigating sidewalks from a young age?

You know what to do, leave a comment after the beep.


  • holydances

    what is this article really about?
    they are graceful, and gazelle like-very fun to watch. however***its important to keep in mind this is 1% of women’s builds. I fear the glamorization of and overexposure (and articles calling models ‘exceptionally pretty’) is what makes girls feel uncomfortable about their own natural bodies. Its all bout how you carry yourself, girls. you dont have to have the validation of a label tell you that!

  • Charlotte

    Cat. Definitely Cat.

  • Amatoria Clothing

    I would have to say I am dancer. Not in the graceful, ballet dancer, sort of way. More of in a child-like bouncing around with a grin on your face, making up songs that make no sense.
    As for the walk, I can’t be of any help. I actually feel naked walking without a handbag or pockets. Without these to contain my arms, I have no idea what to do with these long dangly things hanging from my shoulders as I walk.
    Hope reincarnation is of realz, so I can come back as a tiger or a house-kitten and sleep all day/ walk gracefully always.

  • Priscilla The Cat

    Cos they are taught so, is not them personally. Ask the trainers/ catwalk choreographers why they teach them so and have them explain to you why this type of catwalk is the accepted norm and how it developed. Vladimír Frank, czech catwalk choreographer & stylist of many many years who worked with Estee Lauder among others would be a good person to ask. Though don’t know what is he up to these days, last time I know of he wanted to travel the world 😉

  • Ann Kathrin

    Beeing a professional dancer myself, I can say that it’s a combination of attitude + activating the right muscles. It’s all about posture and a tiny muscle between the rib-cage that needs to be sucked in + you have to tense your groin…

    There is a reason why a ballerina (Karlie Kloss!!) is claimed one of the best on the runways….

  • rachel

    stretching and strengthening the muscles in your feet, ankles, and calves helps a lot, especially the achilles. Ballet also does wonders for being able to walk better in heels!

  • Sarah