Maine Attraction: The Vogue Dahlia Retrospective
Dahlia CelineDion Williams, the raven-haired, regal, and floofy beauty of the Chicago Black Cat franchise has graced the cover of Vogue four times in the past seven years. She owns a chain of luxury feline fur salons, is a globetrotting meowdel (Pre-Covid, of course) and a real world-renowned foodie. Ask anyone who knows her, though, and they’ll tell you she's not done yet! Before we sit down with Dahlia to ask "What's next?" let's take a trip down memory lane with a smattering of delectable excerpts from previous interviews.
Interview from May 2014
Vogue: Dahlia, what got you into meowdeling?
Dahlia: I didn't find the camera so much as it found me. As Annie [Leibovitz] is fond of telling me "The camera may as well have been a paperweight before your floof." Also, the power of treats is undeniable.
Vogue: "The power of treats". What do you mean by that?
Dahlia: Perhaps it’s uncouth to admit, darling, but treats, meat chunks, drive me nuts! Of course, I’m proud of the art I create when I’m in front of all those Leicas and Hasselblads, but the real focus, for me, is what’s behind those cameras. Meat chunks. The big jobs pay in chicken necks!
Vogue: I didn't realize there were so many ways to style fur.
Dahlia: The colors on a painter’s palette are limited only by their creativity, composers have a cornucopia of notes to choose from. Why would floof be any different?
Vogue: What is something you think is undervalued in the styling industry?
Dahlia: Shine! I don't let anyone walk out of Salon D'ahlia without the proper amount of shine. You haven't been to Salon D'ahlia if you don't shine.
Interview from September 2016
Vogue: Dahlia you focus a lot on food. Why do you feel this is so important at the salon?
Dahlia: Would you like to know a little secret about me? For my endless love of styling, I actually don’t much care to be the one in the chair. Thankfully, nothing takes the edge off like meat chunks. Meat soothes my ruffled soul, I want to provide that same relief to everyone who enters Salon D’ahlia.
“Thankfully, nothing takes the edge off like meat chunks.”
Vogue: Everyone wants to know; is your ombre natural or your own creation?
Dahlia: The eye alone can not distinguish a diamond from a cubic zirconia, but, I’m willing to do the work so that other cats can have what I have. I may be Rembrandt, but no one can tell the difference between my work and the real thing.
Interview from December 2018
Vogue: Dahlia this is your third time on the Vogue cover, how does that make you feel?
Dahlia: Old, darling! (Laughs). No, it's an honor to grace the Vogue cover once. Anything more than that is purely on account of the good taste of the Vogue editors. And, Annie’s [Leibovitz] ability to capture light, of course!
"We can all find our beauty and our beast."
Vogue: With your success comes fame. How do you relate to your fans?
Dahlia: Meat chunks get caught in my chest fur, turds are occasionally entangled in my fluffy pants, like everyone else. I don't hide my flaws. But, when it's time to get down to business, I know how to work the camera. We can all find our beauty and our beast.
Vogue: Who's in charge, you or Mikita?
Dahlia: [Laughs] The Yin does not command the Yang, or vice versa. Naturally, we have the occasional tiff, but, on balance, we flow quite well together. Though, he is fond of staring at me until I vacate the window seat. Just so he can nap there. He’s cute, weird and persistent, that one.
"...when he hand-feeds me treats as I lounge upon my sun bed I can't help but laugh and ask myself 'Who's got who eating out of the palm of their hand?'"
Vogue: What are your parents like and how do they handle your success?
Dahlia: Such sweet souls, those two! The big one is obsessed with me. It’s a bit much at times, but we also connect on a deep level. Our love of food knows no bounds. I like to let him think he’s got a handle on things but when he hand-feeds me treats as I lounge upon my sun bed I can't help but laugh and ask myself 'Who's got who eating out of the palm of their hand? The small one, she’s the best! Her carnivore culinary skills are world-class. Plus, she gives the best neck scratchies! Ugh, I’ve been trying to hire her full time for Salon D’ahlia, but she keeps telling me she’s a freelancer. Smart, that one, always keeps me wanting more! She also knows how to butter a girl up, bringing home fancy treats for me. They are both super supportive of my art.
Interview from August 2020
Vogue: A lot has changed since we last talked. Congratulations on your fourth cover!
Dahlia: Thank you! It’s humbling to still be creating after a year like 2020. I know how many artists out there are struggling, so it’s an honor I do not take lightly.
Vogue: With Covid-19, there have been many restrictions, closings and re-openings of salons. What has changed at Salon D'ahlia?
Dahlia: Everything, darling, everything. We’re fortunate to still be here, still be styling. We do temperature checks upon entry. We’ve also cut back on saliva use, which has made it more difficult to achieve desired results. Cats come to me for my expert abilities. I've really had to work hard to keep my standards up.
“You’d be a fool to pass on this meat chunk Kylie.”
Vogue: Meowdeling, styling, snacking; what’s next for Dahlia?
Dahlia: I've been working on a lipgloss line for a long time. I've been in contact with Sephora and they love it! But there’ve been creative concerns.
Vogue: What were they concerned about?
Dahlia: The flavors. They said "Hearts of Chicken" “Chewy Gizzards” and “Cartilage Crunch” wouldn't be very appealing to humans. They suggested that I focus on softening the names and consider making them flavorless. But I know humans and I know my brand. You’d be a fool to pass on this meat chunk Kylie [Jenner].
And with that, the open-booked yet still somehow enigmatic floof queen whisked off in her matte black cat stroller to parts unknown. Master of her domain, beauty industry maverick, meat chunk chomper, poop zoomer. These are only but pieces of the delicious Dahlia pie we are all lucky enough to experience. We are fortunate to be able to bask in her surprises, delights and styles. Undoubtedly, Dahlia will conquer whatever comes next, or take a luxurious, pillow-ensconced nap.