The Pooch Wears Prada: Canine Fashion
For dog lovers, the most lasting image from erstwhile MTV reality series “Newlyweds” may be Jessica Simpson’s Maltipoo, Daisy, in a Louis Vuitton monogram canvas dog carrier. In the years since, the dog-watching public has become used to seeing celebrities turn their pups into style mavens. But it isn’t only the Tori Spellings of the world who are dressing and accessorizing their pups in brand names traditionally associated with the catwalk rather than the dog run.
“Celebrities popularized clothing and bling for dogs, and mainstream designers began launching new canine lines to satisfy what they saw as a potential growth market,” says Tierra Bonaldi, spokesperson for the American Pet Products Association. “And it did grow, though it was stronger before the recession hit.” Still, people love treating their pets like family members, and this is just one more way to do that. Bonaldi fills us in on the hottest dog looks on the market.
Tired of your dog’s nylon collar? Perhaps one encrusted with Swarovski crystals will add new pep to your pup’s step. If you like Swarovski but want something more practical, try a retractable leash with a lead covered in the jewels, which come in a variety of colors.
Costume jewelry is also on the menu this year. Wal-Mart’s Fancy Rhinestone Collar, which looks almost like the real thing, makes chic affordable.
Your pooch’s collar need not glimmer in the sun to impress. Burberry, Coach and Tiffany & Co. are vying to wrap themselves around your furry friend’s neck. Burberry offers both collar and leash, as does Coach. Tiffany will ensure that if your dog gets lost, it will do so in style with its sterling silver dog bone tag charm.
Even pre-recession, big box stores like Old Navy and Target were already in the collar and leash market. Their stylish accessories have become even more appealing as the stock market continues its descent.
For your dog’s next stroll down the red carpet, exclusive just-for-dogs brand Little Lily has taken last year’s hottest Oscar looks and translated them into dog size. Now Fido can wear George Clooney’s tux, while Fifi can don Anne Hathaway’s gown.
What’s a dog to wear when lying around the house or taking a simple stroll around the block? Just as Juicy Couture met the velour pantsuit needs of hundreds of thousands of American women, the brand is coming to doggies’ loungewear rescue with T-shirts, hoodies and parkas. If your pooch longs for more highbrow house wear, Ralph Lauren’s cashmere ruffle sweater may make your pet bark for joy. For more reasonably priced leisure wear, your pet can’t go wrong at Old Navy, Target or Wal-Mart.
According to Bonaldi, a new company called Celebrity Pet will soon be launching a series of canine couture lines designed by celebrities. Former Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith will be the brand’s first celeb designer. “Fashion is a lucrative part of the pet industry,” Bonaldi explains.
Doggie Dressing Rules
Know your dog’s measurements before you buy. Dog clothing does not come in standard sizes, but if you know your pet’s weight, neck circumference and body length, you’ll be able to determine the right size, no matter the brand.
Be aware of your dog’s comfort zone. Not all dogs like wearing all fabrics. Try inexpensive cottons and knits to test your furry friend’s tolerance before you go all out on a designer wardrobe that might never see the sidewalk.
Wash your dog’s wardrobe by hand to ensure longevity. Dry it on a drying rack to avoid shrinking.
“Dogs don’t have the capacity to feel silly in clothes, and they tend to get a lot of attention when wearing them, so being dressed may be an enjoyable experience for them,” says Bonaldi. “For many owners, it’s a fun extension of what they enjoy in fashion for themselves. Plus it makes them feel good to pamper their pets.” Bonaldi’s own dog and cat, Dolce and Gabbana, are still waiting for their namesakes to enter the animal fashion market.