Fashion: Very fetching

Attractive, discreet, the perfect accessory - and they won't pooh- pooh your latest collection. Tamasin Doe reveals why a dog is a designer's best friend. Photographs by John Stoddart

She's a lucky, bitch, that Pluto. She wears a

satiny coat and little beige boots. Her black

nails are the colour of Vinyl by Hard Candy. She hangs out with the In crowd. She's got a great figure and a hundred admirers who live around Notting Hill. Pluto is a fashion dog and she is an exceptional beast with an exceptional life.

Better than the personal assistant, fashion dogs never snap back. They are always beautiful and never answer to the name "Lucky" (one eye, half a tail, three legs). You won't find a Muttley here because he would moult, leaving a mohair pile where there shouldn't be one. The ideal London fashion dog, it appears, wears its hair short and has a cool demeanour (forget the fashion lore about a perky Pekinese that lives in its own monogrammed Vuitton carry-case, or the hysterical toy poodle dyed this year's colour - it only happens in Paris).

No, during an outbreak of hissy fits it's the steady gaze of a stoic poodle that tranquillises these designers. The pad of paws around a studio can bliss out a designer in a way that their Feng Shui consultant simply can't. It's the feel of warm, living fur and the unconditional adoration of an attractive, superior creature that soothes the creative brow. It is, they say, like having Leo or Kate as best friend, only better because you can sit next to them in swimwear.

And only whisper the words "child substitute", because it isn't necessarily so. They say. And never call them handbag mutts - a fashion dog isn't only for one season, it's for an entire lifetime of emotional nurturing. Of the owners by the dog, that is, because in the sometimes rabid domain of fashion, these creatures are a humanising presence. The only payola they expect for their loyalty is affection and a daily plate of meaty chunks (although Tom Ford at Gucci has launched a range of dog accessories in honour of his pooch).

When Philip Treacy is weary from the horridness of it all, he stares into Mr Pig's eyes and the misery melts away. "Fashion is cruel, dogs aren't ... Pig is perfect in every way; he's loyal, he's smart, he's intuitive ... and I adore him as much as he adores me." Mr Pig expects a place at Mr Treacy's pillow and his own Pig to keep him company (a friend gave him a stuffed Piglet for a bed partner). Mr Pig also has his own fan club (in Japan) and model Kristen McMenamy "luuuuvs him". While it sounds like its time for Mr Pig to go solo, Treacy is being possessive. He will never, ever let him go

Bella Freud & Pluto (right) Bella Freud is a part-time dog owner. "I share Pluto with my Dad," she explains - dad being the artist Lucian Freud, who named Pluto and drew the whippet for her company logo. Pluto is 10 and, like designer Bella, he is a lean machine. Neither dog nor owner are effusive or full of yap. In fact, Pluto is described as "a cattish type of dog". Instead of going for the postman, he is wont to skulk around the studio until he finds a comfy bit of fur on which to snooze. Oh, and his portrait by Freud Snr, hangs in the Tate.

Philip Treacy & Mr Pig (below) Mr Pig, a five-year-old Jack Russell, was a gift to milliner Philip Treacy. He's become a good "couture dog" who likes sleeping on luxury, whether it's a bit of Versace cashmere or Valentino lambswool. He's also the studio's resident security guard, says Treacy, "although he doesn't quite realise just how small he is". Like his owner, "he's very loyal, and doesn't suffer fools gladly". Mr Pig has the dubious honour of having label-maven Isabella Blow as his surrogate aunt. "He bites occasionally and there have been a few casualties," says Phillip. "Not least a pair of Isabella's Manolo Blahnik stilletos."

Katharine Hamnett & Lola

Katharine Hamnett describes her two-year-old lurcher as "a gypsy poaching dog", who allegedly had a curious childhood: "A dog delivered her and the cats brought her up." One catfight too many, however, has made Lola a vicious scratcher, who "has a tendency to go for the jugular", but, admits veteran designer Hamnett, "so do I". Hamnett has a grand tour scheduled, including Paris, Las Vegas, and Venice, so it's no surprise that her Spring/Summer 1999 T-shirt slogan will be "Passports for Pets".

Sherald Lamden & Babe (left) Seraph is Sherald Lamden's design label. Babe is her English bull terrier. She called him Babe, "because they're known as butch, and I wanted to get the machismo out of the dog" - and although he's fed on vegetarian nibbles, he still goes for cycle couriers. Babe is Lamden's fourth bull terrier, and on the streets of Tottenham where she was brought up, "a little bit of tough is a great deterrent". Dog and owner are no-nonsense: "I never fuss about a collar and never treat him like a five-year-old boy."

Jimmy Collins & Mildred (below) Jimmy Collins, creator of hip streetwear label YMC, is still enjoying a honeymoon period with his 14-month-old British bulldog, Millie. Together just a few weeks, they make a comic roly-poly double act who, according to Jimmy's girlfriend, Sophie, even snore in unison. "A good three days" were spent trying to name her. He wanted something grannyish and, passing on Winifred, Daisy and Molly, chose Mildred (Millie for short) because a friend of his has a dog called George.

Andrew Fionda & Barney Barney, says his owner Andrew Fionda, of design duo Pearce Fionda, "is like a human. He's not really an animal - he's my permanent partner." Although Barnie, a Tibetan terrier, is most often found asleep in one of the studio's leather Chesterfields, when Lili Maltese (model wife of society boy Henry Dent-Brocklehurst) was being fitted for her wedding dress, he was, apparently, "running riot". Occasionally obstreperous, if tied to a lamp-post while Andrew buys a pint of milk, "he screams as if he's being strangled". Interviews by Morwenna White

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Early Years Teacher

    £90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...

    .NET Developer - .NET & SharePoint - Coventry

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + bonus: Ampersand Consulting LLP: .NET a...

    English Secondary Teacher

    £110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: English Teacher needed for ...

    Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?