To coincide with the long-awaited, much-anticipated nationwide launch of Dogs In Vogue – A Century of Canine Chic, by the estimable Judith Watt, here are a few fashionable dog anecdotes of my own. Dogs and fashion – they go together like a horse and carriage, it seems.
And so, as the new millennium dawned, Philip Treacy took his bow-(wow)s on the catwalk followed by his favourite Jack Russell, the frolicking and perky Mr Pig, who exited with more than a degree of panache and with lipstick print on his rump. It was Treacy's great friend and the little dog's godmother (dogmother?) Isabella Blow who had planted it there, by all accounts.
In January 2003, Treacy showed again, this time in Paris. The subject of his collection was celebrity: a David Beckham hat was worn by Eva Herzigova, a Gwyneth Paltrow headpiece by Jade Parfitt, and Naomi Campbell was adorned with a picture of herself surmounted by a not-so-small but perfectly formed tin of Campbell's Soup (yes, the reference was Andy Warhol).
Mr Pig's gorgeous cardboard snout, complete with little black spot, stole the show, however, sported by none other than Alek Wek.
For autumn/winter 2006, in a collection inspired by Wuthering Heights and all things gothic, Jean Paul Gaultier put rather more leggy – and nowhere near so publicity friendly – dogs onto his catwalk (pictured), causing animal-loving Brits in the audience to grimace, and fur-loving French fashion followers to cheer. One minute cats (a Persian blue and a chocolate Burmese, for any pet trainspotters out there) were carried by models; the next, a Bedlington terrier, a Hungarian puli bearing an uncanny resemblance to a skirt, and a giant white poodle (but of course!) walked by them.
Poodles. Ah, yes. These primped and preened dogs have an understandably high profile in fashion circles everywhere, from Bruce Weber ad campaigns (Mr Weber loves God's creatures, clearly) to Gareth Pugh's legendary black rubber poodle suit which is, sadly, oft mistaken for a rabbit. The indignity!
Away from the catwalk, Tom Ford loves dogs. He once told me that his Jack Russell, John – an honourable name for a faithful friend if ever there was one – had a frequent- flyer card. Air France? Alexander McQueen has three dogs and will testify to the fact that a dog is indeed likely to bear an uncanny resemblance to its owner. "Yes, all three dogs are a bit like me," he confirms. "Although none of them are designers. And none of them smoke." McQueen sleeps with his dogs. So does Christopher Kane. And so, as it goes, do I. The award for the best-named dog in fashion history, meanwhile, goes to Giles Deacon, in his dreams the soon to be proud owner of a beagle – called Jeremy.