Paws Across the Runway

Canine models show gait and glamour at Fashion Week El Paseo

Some models shook with fear, others stopped to groom during their runway walk, and the worst offenders refused to walk at all, needing to be carried to the end of the catwalk.

No, these temperamental models weren’t Manhattan’s latest 90-pond darlings. Rather, they were Poodles, Yorkies, Chihuahuas, and Lab mixes charged with sporting custom doggie designs by Linda Higgins at the inaugural Le Chien Canine Couture Fashion Show, the kickoff event to Fashion Week El Paseo 2012 (

The show was the finale event of a day filled with pet beauty demonstrations, a live auction benefiting the Humane Society of the Desert, and a pet product exhibit featuring haute leashes, collars, and even a stylishly appointed midcentury modern doghouse.

The designs on the four-legged festooned runway rivaled those found in any human closet. Higgins, a Tennessee-based interior designer-turned-dog clothier, showed a selection of mostly special occasion dresses and hats featuring full tulle skirts, leather, rhinestones, sequins, silk and — what seemed to be a favorite material — feathers.

Higgins’ colorful creations, which have been featured on The Wendy Williams Show, matched spring’s trend palette with vibrant kelly green and magenta dresses eliciting the standard “oohs” and “ahhs” from front-row watchers, many of which brought their own dogs to watch with them.

The models likely didn’t appreciate the hand stitching and intricate beadwork in the outfits they showed off — especially a fluffy, teddy bear-like Goldendoodle who, dressed in a brown silk-collared creation, stopped midcatwalk (or should we say dogwalk?) to lick a spectator in the front row.

At any other fashion week in any other city in the world, it would have been a scandal. But at Le Chien, it was business as usual, and the model made her way backstage without commenting on the incident.

Higgins’ fashions range in price from $45 for a small, Fourth of July-themed harness dress to $275 for a gold-sequined ball gown on website, Classy Doggie Designs (

See the Full Runway Show Below


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