The Dog Days of Fashion Week Have Arrived
This was originally published in Show Notes, a newsletter about fashion week written by GQ staffer Samuel Hine. Click the link above and subscribe for more similar stories.
New York Fashion Week’s Most Popular Accessory? The red bizarro MSCHF boots that have been trending online are not this, nor is this a “It” bag. If the past few days are any indication, however, a dog will be the most desirable accessory at the shows this week. Stylists and editors mingled with guests like Pickle, Sweet Pea, Opal, and Italian greyhound Instagram star Tika at the Puppets & Puppets show on Sunday.
Fashion PR guru Gia Kuan told me, “We’re definitely seeing more” canines in the audience during fashion week. In her role as manager of guest lists for companies like Luar and Foo and Foo, Kuan has noticed an uptick in requests from dog owners who wish to bring their pets along. In other cases, ticket requests come directly from Instagram accounts dedicated to dogs. She explained that dogs are a great way to attract street style photographers, but that they can be a logistical nightmare. Poorly behaved dogs may have a meltdown in the midst of the commotion, and most concerts lack facilities for both humans and their four-legged companions. Not every dog is small enough to carry around in a purse. One fashion editor brought their giant schnauzer to last season’s Luar show, where hundreds of guests were packed tightly into scarce seats. Kuan recalled that while it was stunningly beautiful, it was also enormous and required a lot of room.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to be a problem at most places. Although dogs are not permitted in New York City restaurants and many museums and theatres unless they are service animals, this hasn’t stopped them from becoming common sights in most public places. When I turned around at Foo and Foo, a Pomeranian named Prittany who had been dyed pink was sniffing my coat. Prittany’s owner, musician Veronika Vilim, who was dressed in a similarly pink coat, said, “This is her first fashion show, but she loves going to concerts.” Sweet Pea, a 6-year-old rescue chihuahua about the size of a bottle of Fiji water, was dressed in a cute vintage plaid dress sourced by her owner, actor and artist Bobbi Menuez, for Puppets & Puppets. It was revealed by Menuez that “she likes the attention” of shows. Sweet Pea was a model front-row guest, sitting quietly to watch the models parade by and softly howling her approval during the show’s finale. Menuez stated that they were concerned about bringing their pet to the Puppets show because the David N. Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building had more stringent security measures in place than other NYFW venues. Thankfully, the guards at the metal detectors didn’t even notice her, as Menuez pointed out. Perhaps they thought, “Oh, fashion people, they do stuff like that.”
Indeed, canines play a role in this season’s runway shows. On Friday night at Collina Strada, designer Hillary Taymour of Collina had one of the models hold her blue merle Pomeranian named Powie, who is 11 years old. Powie, who sported a charm necklace and a broad grin, was in good company, as many of the models sported animal prosthetics such as snouts and ears. Please Don’t Eat My Friends is the title of the compilation. Taymour, a vegan, frequently incorporates animal themes into her collections, but Powie is establishing himself as a major player in the world of late-career fashion. He appeared in the audience of a runway show on an episode of HBO’s Gossip Girl revival on Friday, and the model who held him wore a top featuring a photo of Powie.
Still, Tika is one of the most well-known dogs at the fashion week. The Montreal native with a penchant for gyrations is known on Instagram as “Tika the Iggy,” and she has amassed 1.1 million followers. When ranked by this criterion, Tika, who was wearing a mohair sweater, was the third most famous person at Puppets & Puppets, behind only Tove Lo and Sasha Velour. I discovered the basic tenet upon which the dogfluencer economy rests: dogs dressed in teeny tiny clothes are incredibly adorable and generate lots of attention on social media. The dog apparel market is also booming. The menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence opened a section for pet accessories just last month, and online retailer SSENSE has an entire section devoted to designer dog sweaters and coats by luxury brands like Moncler and Versace. Tika, who prefers email interviews, remarked that the pet apparel industry had grown to nearly $6 billion by 2021, and that many brands were beginning to realise the size of the market for dog fashion. “Plus, designers always say how fun it is to make an outfit for a four-legged model,” Tika (via owner Thomas Shapiro) said.
Newly appointed CFDA chairman Thom Browne is one designer who may have been most instrumental in the crossover to dog clothing. His partner, the Met curator Andrew Bolton, and Browne share their home with a sweet wirehaired dachshund named Hector, whose likeness inspired a line of leather bags that prove the point of the dog-as-accessory move by eliciting delight and many photographs. Hector has been so instrumental in Browne’s success that he frequently visits Browne’s office and helps him work. His attendance at Thom Browne’s show at The Shed on Tuesday is not confirmed, and he is not usually invited to the designer’s shows. Which is understandable; Browne has a lot on his plate on performance days. And it’s safe to assume that Hector enjoys being the focus of interest.