We Went To The New York Pet Fashion Show, And It Was The Best

Hey, remember how the biggest conversation in the weeks leading up to this season of New York Fashion Week was about how the whole enterprise was starting to feel a bit like a circus? There was talk of designers pulling out of the traditional tents/Lincoln Center situation and turning toward smaller, more intimate (and more spread out) venues, and that Alexander Wang might even move his presentation all the way out to *GASP* Brooklyn! Well, it happened. All of it. And while we agree that NYFW, as it exists, begs to be disrupted, this week, we turned toward the eye of the storm and walked straight into the zoo. OK, a zoo. A gathering of animals, at the very least? We went to the New York Pet Fashion Show. And, BTW, (HAI, HATERZ) it was THE BEST.

Welcome to the New York Pet Fashion Show!
Photo: MTV/Gaby Wilson

It all went down last Friday night (Feb. 7) at the Hotel Pennsylvania—which, fun fact: has its own Doggie Concierge, a smiley dude by the name of Jerry Grymek who is really good at making dog puns (probably part of the job description, TBH). When you reach the event floor, you’re greeted by a lovely welcoming committee (including the above little gilded munchkin perched on that teeny FAUX fur pelt) who checks you in.

This big guy’s name is Bocker.
Photo: MTV/Gaby Wilson

As you head into the event space, you’re inundated with festive puppy-themed displays. There are flower arrangements in the shape of regal poodles (like, poodles wearing capes and crowns and stuff), tables displaying all the latest in doggie gadgets and gizmos, carriers and harnesses, leashes and tiaras, and most important, there is a step-and-repeat for red carpet photo opps for puppies to practice finding their light, giving angles, and serving skinny arm paw.

UOENO ’bout these regal ’fits.
Photo: MTV/Gaby Wilson

This year, the New York Pet Fashion show celebrated its 10th anniversary. As you may not already know, there’s a theme to this thing every year. 2014’s shindig was all about royalty with a focus on the woman who epitomized over-the-top: Marie Antoinette. That translated to dogs in rich brocades, fluffy ascots, trains longer than you’d think a purse dog could possibly handle, and more rhinestones than I think I’ll ever see again in my entire life—in fact, the creator/designer of that $2.5 million Victoria’s Secret bra ALSO created a diamond dog collar to be auctioned off for the occasion. Less on-the-nose for the regal theme, though, was the brilliant (pun unintended) inclusion of LED lights.

That’s a hand-painted doggie gown train with LED lights.
Photo: MTV/Gaby Wilson

The fashion show itself was divided into four distinct segments: Gems of Rescue, wherein rescue dogs modeled clothes meant to signify different precious gemstones; Age of Enlightenment, the most #FASHUN part of the show, premiering a full line of doggie couture garments; Treasures of the King, showcasing the latest and greatest in pet products; and Crown Jewels of Fashion, a free-for-all costume contest open to all attendees. That Age of Enlightenment section was when the LED lights came in—a bonkers-smart twist on the theme that we were NOT expecting.

The section was helmed and designed by Ada Nieves, one of the event’s co-chairs and the GENIUS behind the outfits our animal actors wore in those VMA reenactments we made a few years back. Knowing her previous work, we should have probably guessed that there would be some clever tricks up her sleeve, but since barely any humans wear clothes infused with LED technology (save, y’know, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga), this seemed at least a few years from ever reaching pups. Oh, how wrong we were.

You betta WORK!
Photo: MTV/Gaby Wilson

If you’ve ever been to an NYFW fashion show, you’re familiar with the surprising brevity of most runway presentations. The invites stipulate one time, but that’s just to get you in the door around then. The real show kicks off maybe 45 minutes later than the advertised start time and lasts a whopping 15 minutes (if even THAT). This show? Three hours of non-stop canine cuteness (see above).

More than just a campy night of dogs in extravagant princess gowns with full embroidered skirts and teeny-tiny tiaras, though, the New York Pet Fashion show has a truly benevolent heart beating at the center of it all. This year’s event was thrown to benefit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals as well as 150 participating shelters and rescue groups. Creating an opportunity to do good (while having fun) is the whole reason the show exists in the first place, and THAT is the best part.

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