The invitation offered a front-row seat at a fashion show. Imagine that! Front row! I’d never been to a fashion show before.
The invitation said I could bring a guest, too. But even with the lure of front-row seats, no one would accompany me. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that this was a fashion show for dogs.
As for the front-row seats … there were actually just two long rows of folding metal chairs of the sort favored by church basement bingo players and attendees of zoning appeals hearings. And since one row was lined up along either side of the catwalk at Pet Chic’s 1st Annual Spring/Summer Fashion Show, strictly speaking each of the 35 attendees was in the front row.
The big difference between the fashion shows in New York, Paris and Milan and the one held at Pet Chic, which is on the backside of a strip mall in Pikesville (down behind the noodle place), was that it was held at the back-side of a strip mall in Pikesville down behind the noodle place.
But, hey, dogs are people, too. And if you don’t believe me, ask the owners of Conan, Bindi, Dolly and Zeu— they would be Sarah Rosenthal, Marnie Goldman, Charlotte Peltz and Rebecca Mansperger. These ladies love their little dogs and want them to wear nice clothing and meet the right sort of other little dogs.
Just about everyone who was at Pet Chic had a dog with them or was part of a dog’s extended family, so to speak— lots of cameras and camcorders. Every “model” had an entourage. The world of dog fashion is like the world of the pack, though less “Call of the Wild” than Call of the Cell Phone. More White Flint than White Fang.
And just like the real world of fashion, the models were largely wearing things that were preposterously expensive and/or you would never wear yourself. Or, more precisely, let your dog wear. I can’t vouch for the fact that dogs enjoy dressing up. But these dogs were pretty good sports, especially Doc and Kelsey, two doleful greyhounds who modeled rain gear and towered over the other pooches, all of which tended toward the miniature variety of man’s best friend.
These are the pets of Pikesville and they are a special breed. They are not the sort of dogs one would use to guide the blind (unless the blind need to go to Saks or Nieman Marcus). Since the days of the caveman, dogs have been domesticated, taught to hunt, herd, guard, serve, protect, tote, fetch— and now to shop. For the metro-sexual Lassie in your life, for the Rin Tin Tin that likes to play dress up, for the Old Yeller that loves bright color— Pet Chic is the place for you, cheri. Or paw vous, as in Petiquette Paw Vous: “a pet refreshing essence” whose function, as explained by Sarah Rosenthal, is “to make them not be stinky. Some people have issues with wet dogs.” At $48 for a 2-ounce bottle, it’s not inexpensive. But then nothing is in these dogs’ lives. If you have to ask how much it costs, Fido, well, then maybe you should be at Petco.
Ms. Rosenthal’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Conan, is by all accounts “the mayor of Pet Chic.” As she explained while Conan and some one dozen other dogs strolled the runway displaying the fashions of the season, Conan “is not really a dog. He’s more of a little boy.” Conan was wearing a white and brown golf shirt, an odd thing to see if you are not used to dogs on the back nine. But I figured if he didn’t mind I didn’t mind.
Conan’s shirt was one of the many tres expensive products sold to very well-heeled hounds at Pet Chic, where James Herriot meets “Queer Eye.” Clothes horses— and who isn’t when you get right down to it?— will be glad to learn that hot pink and lime green, those stalwart hues for generations of fashionably challenged WASPs, are the colors this season for Rover. I didn’t see any madras, but there will be other seasons.
Indeed, this is the world of the High Maintenance Bitch. (That’s the brand of canine jewelry favored by Jessica Simpson— not a description of anyone at the fashion show.) Other featured brands include Dogz Togz (as worn by Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell and Nicole Richie’s Honey Child in “The Simple Life”); PuchiBags (favored by Brittany Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Applegate— think “Legally Blonde”); Hip Doggie (Paris Hilton, again); and D.O.G. (that’s Dog Outer Garments, for those hopelessly out of touch with pampered pooches). Pet Chic also carries products from Jasper and Lenore (Hillary Duff is a big fan) and Love My Dog (specializing in summer raincoats … for dogs!).
The Pet Chic fashion show has got me thinking of reincarnation. In my next life, I want to be a Yorkie Poo (that’s part Yorkshire and part miniature poodle), live in Pikesville and ride around in a BMW with a rich lady. Chase cars? Chase cats? Chase mailmen? Are you insane?
And by the way, the next time some goofball vet with a bad haircut and off-the-rack from the Men’s Wearhouse has the chutzpah to tell you dogs are colorblind, tell him about Pet Chic.