Catwalkies! Two legs are so last year as fashion discovers 'pet-à-porter'

The slinky models glittering in diamante and skintight evening coats paced nervously backstage minutes before they were due to sashay down the luminous pink catwalk.

Some with delicate temperaments shook free of their dressers and threw eleventh- hour tantrums while others sat preening themselves quietly. This brand of supermodel may not yet be instantly recognisable but it is leading the way in fashion's latest trend - canine couture.

These pooches were modelling Burberry raincoats, "Playboy" collars and pink hooded tops as the audience admired the latest must-have accessories for their pets. From doggy nail varnish to pooch tiaras, this week's Pet-à-Porter fashion show opened up a new spending avenue for the socialite with everything.

Well-heeled dog lovers could pick up anything from a custom-made collar to a £400 red-tailored coat for their fashion- conscious canines. People paid £25 a ticket and queued in the rain to attend the 20-minute show in Harrods.

There was much hype among the 400-strong audience as the first model - Lady Isabella Hervey's miniature Maltese - bounded onto the catwalk wearing a Puppia leather sheepskin number. The dainty Maltese was followed by a bulldog wearing a stretch powder-blue fleece.

The show had been expanded from last year's inaugural event to include a dogalogue - or dog catalogue - for clients wishing to assemble a designer wardrobe for their pooch that would rival their own.

The dogs, which included a dalmatian, a pug, a Bichon Frisse, a Schnauzer and an over-confident Russian Afghan, were walked on to the runway by models in matching outfits. But the crowd kept their gazes on the dogs and not their elegant handlers, with loud mur- murs and gasps as the dogs did lightning-quick costume changes to showcase a range of designer daywear, raincoats and evening coats.

Guests sipped champagne and munched bone-shaped pastries as their own immaculately dressed lurchers, poodles and chihuahuas trotted and nosed around the store.

Jasmine Al Fayed, 23, (daughter of the Harrods owner) bought a miniature long- haired chihuahua, Pharaoh, a designer raincoat as her father looked on, while Jane Glaze-brook, a 15-year-old student from Cambridge with five dogs, had come to the show to add to her chihuahua Lily's growing wardrobe. "I like a lot of designer labels, but my favourites are Prada and Burberry. Lily wears a lot of Pet London. She's got pink Burberry to match mine and I've bought her a Harrods collar," she said.

Clare Dicker, 21, from Kent, bought her Staffordshire bull terrier some glittery accessories, and then joked: "She probably gets bullied for the way she dresses in the dog community."

"Although it looks intrinsically silly it does have a function. Some dogs have thin skins and it's practical to dress them for winter," said Beth Robson, a businesswoman from Battersea, south London, whose dog, Mr Crumpet, eats out of a Gucci food bowl. "He's only seven months so I'm still building his wardrobe," she added.

The trend to dress up pets was started by the American heiress Paris Hilton, who is often photographed carrying her dog, Tinkerbell, in a designer handbag.

Since then, the fashion accessory pooch has become symbolic of a generation of women who marry later and have larger disposable incomes, according to Mark Birchenouth, Harrod's pet department manager.

He said his clientele had a maternal relationship with their dogs and saw no reason why they should not look equally as "fabulous" as their owners. "You can accessorise your dog with your own designer wardrobe and many women do. Our best sellers are the glitzy accessories. We sell nail varnish, tiaras and designer-wear for dogs. For many these pets are their babies," he said.

But Lucy Kennedy, who runs a dog-walking agency in west London, shook her head as she pointed to the dog bones hand-made in Milan. "I think it's ridiculous. Who would put their dog in a pink sheepskin jacket and pay £15 for it to be dry cleaned? They [pets] are status symbols," she said. "If I had to walk a dog dressed like that, I'd feel tempted to take it all off before I took it to the park."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot