Metro Pets

By Lili Eros-Sarnyai

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the only ones more fabulous than Manhattan’s well-heeled ladies are their equally well-pampered pooches, those doggies prancing in custom-made designer threads, laden with jewel-encrusted collars. From finding gourmet snacks and nutritionally customized meals, buying cashmere sweaters and ordering doggy birthday baskets, pet owners go out of their way to pamper their faithful companions.

In celebration of all this pet love, New York Pet Fashion Week (www.PetFashionWeek.com) kicked off with a day packed full of exciting events. Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, this annual showcase of all things furry and fabulous opened with symposiums held by industry luminaries. Teri DiMarino, a pet styling expert and grooming contest winner shared salon tidbits garnered from a successful career. In another room, a rapt audience listened as Gregory Wegweiser, designer, stylist and visual merchandising connoisseur lectured on the tricks of the trade.

Arguably the main attraction was the Pet Fashion Week Tradeshow which featured a seemingly endless array of boutique booths catering to the pet-loving crowd. As caring owners, industry professionals and camera-toting media types marveled at the sheer range of products and services offered, a magical atmosphere seemed to fill the space, enveloping the show in a certain otherworldly feel. Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, there was a sense of having fallen into a world where walking on four legs is de rigueur and diamond collars are the measure of success.

All our favorites were there, including FUR by J Mikel (www.FurDogsnyc.com) who was introducing new spiffy brushes. From designer coats to hand-woven scarves, gem-encrusted charms to doggy active-wear, even the most exigent fashion-conscious pet parent was sure to find enough to fill a chic bag or two; there was definitely something for every breed and budget. Beyond the myriad of accessory and apparel options, the expo hosted an astounding range of companies offering everything from pet insurance to doggy daycare, gourmet biscuits (smoked rib and chive flavor, anyone?) to squeaky, bouncy rubber toys heaped in a playful, pastel pile.

And the excitement did not stop there! The Grooming Galleria pulsed with creative energy as professionals at the forefront of the stylish pet grooming industry showcased product lines of the most luxurious doggy spas. In response to overwhelming demand for a display of doggy beautification, this year’s Pet Fashion Week saw the premiere of Les Poochs Poodle Challenge, an invitational grooming competition where world-famous pet stylists, including Vero Da Sylva of the USA, Anita Bax of England, and Brazil’s Sergio Murilo Villasanti displayed their talents in a shaver-wielding competition of styling ability.

For the fashionista furries, the Pet Fashion Week Runway Show was the place to be to see the hottest doggy styles. One of the pet industry’s most prestigious events, designers had the chance to showcase their creations to both sophisticated industry professionals and elegant, demanding buyers. The accessories and ready-to-wear apparel took pet couture to a whole new level — taking a cue from environmental and humanitarian concerns, the theme chosen was “ECOuture“. Fashion, fundraising and environmental sustainability were combined in a mélange of stylish goodwill.

The ECOuture Charity Fundraiser aimed to recognize and support companies and designers who use and produce eco-friendly products, and to support the city’s animal shelters with funds raised from audience donations benefiting The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. (www.AnimalAlliancenyc.org)

So what will all the Vogue-worthy pooches be wearing this coming season? According to Dogartist (www.dogartist.se) a Swedish label popular with celebrities, models and jet-setting trendsetters, clean and classic with a touch of rough is the way forward: think crisp yet playful leather collars embellished with tough silver studs, sporty-chic totes in cool tones, and dual-colored leashes with a subtle gold finish.

For all the “special” breeds out there, Cadilen (www.cadelin.com) offered comfortable, stylish apparel for dachshunds, bulldogs and whippets, each garment carefully crafted to cater to “the happy pet” – and which furry friend wouldn’t be a bundle of joy with the company’s striped sweaters, flower-printed vests and super-soft, 100 % cotton t-shirts?

Wiggles (www.wigglespets.com) by Kyle Hui featured the more daring aspects of pet couture, with a collection abundant in detail-oriented, customized design where every piece became a work of wearable, comfortable, stylish art. OoMaLoo (www.oomaloo.com) presented hand crocheted and knit garments and accessories for doggies desiring individual, one-of-a-kind garments, whilst the self-assured Idawg (www.idawgclothing.com) addressed the needs of larger breeds with a line of fashion-forward hoodies, rainwear and bomber jackets in bright colors and comfortable, movement-friendly styles.

So as long as it holds true that “every dog has its day”, make sure that it is an extra fashionable and fabulous day.

Originally published September 2008
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