Canine couture: Dogs dominate the runway at ‘Fashion Week Brooklyn’

Doggy dog world: Dog-signer Anthony Rubio holds his twin chihuahuas, Bogie and Kimba, dressed to the ca-nines.
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“Fashion Week Brooklyn” is going to the dogs!

The celebration of high fashion in the borough kicks off March 13 with four days of runway walking in Sunset Park’s Industry City. And some the show’s biggest stars will be doing the walking on four legs.

“The boy dogs will be wearing tuxedos,” said Anthony Rubio, a dog-signer extraordinaire, whose pup-pieces will be featured in a show on March 15. “The girl dogs will have turbans on. It’s glamor and glitz with an Afro-centric feel to it.”

Rubio’s pup de resistance is a $5,000 ballroom gown with a thousand Swarovski crystals — and a skirt that comes off leaving behind a less ornate dog-harness. The canine clothier said he draws on inspiration from today’s human-centered couture, and is also working with a traditional designer to pair his creations with garments made for Homo sapiens.

“My designs incorporate elements from top fashion designers,” Rubio said. “But they also have to be functional.”

Rubio started creating designer dog duds 10 years ago, and has seen the canine fashion industry exploding since then.

“Now, when you see a pup without a coat on or something fancy, you think something’s missing,” said Rubio, who has a pair of twin chihuahuas named Bogie and Kimba, both of whom will be at the show in his designs. “It’s happening all over the world.”

Colleen Armstrong, media director for Fashion Week Brooklyn, said these dog designs bark to what the borough’s couture convention is all about.

“Brooklyn has always been a trend setter,” Armstrong said. “And Brooklyn has a lot of dogs and dog owners, so it makes sense.”

But dogs will not be the only ones getting dolled up. The event will also feature about 20 other fashion designers — most of whom work with human models. The organizers say they want to call attention to the industry in Brooklyn, and to provide a more accessible alternative to couturiers who could not make it in to Manhattan’s Fashion Week shows.

“There’s a need to support emerging designers,” said Armstrong. And besides, she said, “Brooklyn is the ‘it’ place for all things trendy and fashionable.”

Especially when it comes to dogs.

“Fashion Week Brooklyn” at Industry City (241 37th Street between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, March 13–16. $35 per day.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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