Four-Legged Fashion

Linda Higgins designs outfits that turn canines into runway stars

Linda Higgins (left) picked up a pair of big awards at the New York Pet Fashion Show last month, winning best design and '2013 Fashion Designer of the Year'.

John Scandalios

There isn’t a piece of clothing Bonny can’t wear.

At least when her designer makes it.

Classy Doggie Designs owner Linda Higgins will debut some new pieces for the latest starlet to wear her clothing line at the Le Chien Couture Show on March 16 during the opening weekend of Fashion Week El Paseo 2013 in Palm Desert.

“Some dogs need more dress than others,” said Higgins, who returns for her second Fashion Week appearance. “I look at the color and size of the pet and go from there. I want the dog to be comfortable. Bonny can wear all most anything, Her color allows that too.”

Bonny is fresh from a starring role in the comedy “Seven Psychopaths”, and is expected to command plenty of attention when the 2-year-old Shih Tzu comes trotting down the runway in what is surely one of the most popular fashion shows of the nine-day event.

Nearly four years ago, Higgins decided to extend her creativity beyond the interior design business and began crafting pieces for her own dogs. A month ago, her designs for a 2-year-old Maltese named Bella Mia captured the top award at the fifth annual New York Pet Fashion Show.

“Once I know the event it just comes to me somehow,” Higgins said of her source of inspirations. “I shop all over the world for fabrics and have great sources. Once I am asked to design a dress for a pet, I go searching for fabrics that speak to me about this dog. I like to work with feathers and create my own ideas.”

Bonny’s opportunity came when her trainer, Claire Dore, was perusing the Internet looking for an outfit for the dog to wear at the red carpet opening for the movie.

“I looked at a ton of pages, and nothing compared to Linda’s stuff,” Dore said. “My jaw dropped when I saw her designs. And I’m not into doggy clothes, but these are so lovely.”

Higgins created a stunning black formal outfit for Bonny to wear, but the movie producers chose not to have her parade down the carpet after all. Still, there would be more chances especially when Higgins mentioned the Le Chien Couture show to Dore.

Proceeds from the March 16 event benefit Fashion Group International Inc., and the Humane Society of the Desert, a non-profit, no-kill animal sanctuary. The latter is a campaign close to Higgins’ heart.

“This is my goal in life,” Higgins said. “I want to travel with my designs and hope to have great shows that produce lots of money for the shelters. I have a collection called ‘Ella Bea’. She is my little rescue Chihuahua from California.  I was lucky to become her new mommy.  I donate 20 percent of all sales from her collection to her shelter in Antioch, Calif. Last year we donated close to $3,000. This just warms my heart.”

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