this is what happens when you walk a diamante-encrusted dog down a catwalk
The headline I never thought I'd write.
As the luxury market expands and evolves, it morphs from clothes into, shall we say, more creative territories. Last year Supreme did one of those weird little motorbikes, alongside its Louis Vuitton collection, and an actual brick. There's a Chanel exercise ball floating around our office that's seen a fair few Instastories and absolutely zero assisted ab crunches. Or you could just fork out US $185 for a Prada paperclip. So it makes sense that there's a high-end diamante-encrusted dog clothing line. Right?
Sniffie is described by the brand's founders, Caroline Roberts and Catherine Lui, as "doggy fashion with the bling". The immaculately preened duo began work on it in March 2013, prompted by the fact that offerings in the canine clothing department were "simply not funky enough". Their designs, on the other hand, are very funky indeed. There's a paw-printed parka with a faux fur collar and pleated jewelled cuffs that the press release brands "an everyday essential". And when a pup prefers to unleash its wilder side, how about a baby pink biker jacket with SNIFFIE emblazoned across the back in diamantes?
Their fashion show is remarkably professional. There are Tesco's Finest sandwiches, "pawsecco," and a clown busy whipping up those balloon dogs you've seen at kids' parties and Jeff Koons exhibitions. Two miniature poodles are having a bark off in matching mesh sports vests. A silver greyhound humps a table leg in a crystal dotted two-piece. At £70 for a vest, to £200 for a jacket, you really can get any doggy-tailored item you desire. All adorned in jewels from the third biggest crystal company in the world, Caroline proudly exclaims ("after Swarovski and one other").
Bling is their USP. It's quite a commitment. All bedazzled dogwear must abide by the same strict government standards that children's clothing adheres to: "you have to make sure that when they swallow it it'll come out," she says.
Call me a cynic, but it sounds like a disproportionate amount of effort to spend on coats for an animal that was born in one. But here we are, in a room full of people absolutely losing the plot over dogs in diamantes. "Can you take my picture," asks a preppy blonde in a red houndstooth cape with diamante encrusted fringing, clutching a 5-month-old pug called Earl in matching miniature ensemble. "It's for his Instagram."
I, on the other hand, am a dog-dressing virgin, and am really struggling with exactly how many holes there are and what goes where. After ten painstaking minutes, I finally manage to shove Pam, my poor ward for the day, into a bib with a giant pug face on its backside. It's chaos; her whine crescendoing to a full throttle bark. A bulldog snaps, a Chihuahua yelps, there's pee on the floor and a vet frantically fluffing around with a handful of plastic dog bones. It is very loud. The applause is riotous, and not even just because of the flowing pawsecco. People just love dogs.
When I ask Christine and Catherine exactly why people love dogs, they echo the age old cliché: "They're just the most loyal friends." That's definitely one element. Life's a lonely ride at the best of times, and dogs help. So why not show them a bit of bedazzled loving? As Catherine concludes, "you can dump boyfriends, but you never dump your dog."
True -- but I prefer mine naked.