Last Friday night, fashion went to the dogs--literally--at FIT's fifth annual Pet Apparel and Accessories Fashion Show.
We stopped by the catwalk dogwalk, because we're not ones to show favoritism to just one kind of animal. (Sorry Choupette!) Students from the FIT Center for Professional Studies' Pet Product Design and Marketing classes--a professional development certificate program--showed off their work to the audience. Ticket sales benefitted the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and Animal Care and Control of NYC.
The theme for the evening was BARK-a-Porter: Designers imagined taking their pups for a stroll down the Seine, inspired by the couture designs of Miss Coco Chanel and her friends. There were 18 adorable dogs in all, three of which were shelter dogs up for adoption.
Paul Nathan, author of Couture Dogs of New York, was on hand as master of ceremonies.
This being a dog show, there were three Best of Show prizes awarded to the most outstanding and salable items. Megen Lee, vice president of Design for the Martha Stewart Pet Collection, was both a judge and the grand prize: The winner will receive a 45 minute consultation with him. As he knows, pet design isn't a walk in the park.
"I think it just has to be fun enough, novel but also useful, and I think that's a hard combination," Lee advised us. "Over-design is easy."
The winner was Nicole Wilson, a recent FIT intimate apparel grad who was inspired to enter the FIT pet design program by her pup Dakota.
"When I got him, I went to look for a raincoat for him and I wasn't happy with what I found," she explained. "I thought, 'I can make something better for him.'"
And indeed she did. Her winning design was a perfect trenchcoat that judge Lee called "well made, well designed, and very salable." So does Wilson plan on designing more canine couture?
"I would love to do it on the side," she said. "I work as a sleepwear designer, but I would love to get into this, it's so much fun and it's a great little niche market."
Check out some of our favorite doggie designs from Friday night's show.
Photos: Ashley Jahncke