Thu, Aug 23, 2007 - Page 13 News List

And for the pooch that has everything ...

Pet Fashion Week was launched a year ago for buyers and sellers of pet lifestyle items from all over the world to exhibit new ideas and innovation in the pet industry

AFP, NEW YORK

Dogs sport creations at the Pet Fashion Week runway fashion show in New York.

PHOTOS: AFP

For discriminating pets, it really was the cat's pajamas: New York's second annual Pet Fashion Week offered everything a pampered pooch could ever want, from jewel-encrusted leashes to doggy perfume.

Among the canine clients at the event on Sunday was Chai, a short-haired white American Bulldog with blue eyes, dressed in a pink and bronze satin cape made especially for the weekend event.

"We closed our pet shop in Baltimore for three days to come here. The dress was made for her, for the event," explained Thomas Berger, Chai's owner.

Nearby, a male model strutting in just his underpants lead a honey-colored Greyhound dressed in a camouflage outfit up the catwalk.

The show lasted a good hour, featuring dogs modeling designs from 20 or so pet fashion houses to a pounding disco sound track.

Although it was mostly dogs on show, a black cat in a golden collar did make an appearance on the runway towards the end, carried by a young girl.

On the fifth floor of the Manhattan exhibition center, the energy was at fever pitch. A Chihuahua dressed as a Balinese dancer with a golden tiara and accompanied by a woman in the same outfit drew particularly rapturous applause.

The first and fourth floors were devoted to exhibitors, where everything imaginable was on offer: bags, vitamins, leashes and special pet furniture.

"It's fantastic, much more than we expected," said Rie Nishimura, a Japanese buyer from Pet-a-Porter Life, Inc, visiting especially from Tokyo.

After watching the show, she put in her orders to be delivered to Japan.

"We bought hundreds of things for dogs, and accessories. It's a huge industry, and Americans are the leaders," she said.

At her feet, Oliver, a two-year-old Shih Tzu in a brand-named sweat shirt was asleep on a special pink satin sofa with tassel features.

Stacy Braverman, owner of web site "Bitch New York," a luxury online pet store, had brought her four Chihuahuas, one of whom seemed to have had enough.

"Lola just fell asleep, she was so stressed by the show," said Braverman.

"We try to specialize in very unique and upscale items, spa products, a brand new line of shampoos and conditioners," she said.

"She is wearing 'pink sugar souffle', do you like it?" she asked.

"I had to buy a love seat so they can be with me while I work. Their names are Lola, Havana, Winston and Beckham. Yes, like the football player," she said.

A passing spectator with a Pomeranian in a kilt shot back: "Oh you have a Beckham? My Pomeranian is called Jagger! Yes, like Mick!"

On Braverman's Web site, wealthy buyers can find diamond-studded collars at around US$3,000. She had already sold more than one, she said, as a Poodle in green suede performed a waltz on the catwalk.

According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, 63 percent of American households have a pet - amounting to some 88 million cats, 74 million dogs and 142 million gold fish.

The pet industry is worth some US$40 billion dollars a year, including US$16 billion a year in pet food, US$20 billion in veterinarian bills and medicine and almost US$4 billion in toys, clothes and dog-sitters.

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