Dog on a Catwalk Interview with Famed Designer

Sophia Loren of Anne Maria Tafoya rocks a Jamie Diaz design.

What does it take for a dog to own a catwalk? Start with attending the annual New York Pet Fashion show in New York City. The recent gala, star-studded spectacular fashion event took place on the runway high atop the famed Hotel Pennsylvania, right across from Madison Square Garden.  Indeed there was more than one dog on a catwalk on this particular evening.

The theme of this year’s show was The Crown Jewels of Fashion and Rescue. Attendees arrived for the gala in everything from a full regalia of costume reminiscent of Victorian times to classy ball gowns and cute cocktail dresses: And that was just for the canine set. The humans wore matching outfits, costumes, and floor length gowns and designer tuxedos.

Yours truly on the left, rocking the evening with Neely and Champ Waring.

The entire event took place in honor of pet fashion but also to benefit pet rescue, with rescue dogs available for adoption taking to the stage in paw-some pet couture. If you read our exclusive preview to the pet fashion show last week, you know that high heels, high stepping, and high fashion were all on the agenda and to be expected.

The event took place thanks to the creative vision of Oehler Media’s Gregg Oehler and well-known pet fashion designer, event co-chair and Creative Director, Ada Nieves.

Stunning electric creation on the catwalk

Fidose of Reality had a ringside seat to the entire gala, and we shot some video for our readers and garnered an exclusive interview with famed pet couturier, Anthony Rubio. At the end of the evening, one lucky, talented designer walked away with the title of “2014 Pet Fashion Designer Of The Year Award.”

Here, Rubio reveals the inspiration for the creation, what was involved in the labor of love he created, and the muse who inspired it all. Incidentally, Rubio is the designer of the Wigglebutt Wedding couple’s couture (my dog and his doggy wife) and he is the exclusive designer of the Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof couple’s couture this September in Sterling, Virginia.


wigglebutt wedding
Dexter and bride Zoe wearing designs by Anthony Rubio, Photo courtesy Nancy Hassel, Long Island Pet Professionals.

For a complete blow-by-blow of the event, also give a peek to our pal, Bark and Swagger, for her oh-so-detailed run down of the evening’s festivities:

“The theme of the event was “The Crown Jewels” which was left to interpretation. This was a fashion design contest geared solely on the creations for a dog and modeled by the dog. No specific rules ever stated who should present the design on said dog,” Rubio shared. “While other contestants chose to interpret the concept of the theme as portraying a historical figure I decided to think outside of the box. I felt that in her wonderful demeanor and her docile behavior she should be presented as herself a “Princess”. Knowing Bella Mia personally with her sweet nature and her adorable appearance I instantly thought of fresh spring blooms and the glimmer of due on the petals of the flora. I proceeded, as in all projects, to sketch.”


Rubio gets ready to take the statge


Rubio created an understructure to the ensemble, which is an architectural design. To that, he attached salmon colored silk taffeta.


Rubio and Rose Ann Bolasny celebrate a victory. Photo courtesy Richard Alicea.

When finished, he held the bodice which featured a peplum. At that point, he attached different segments of a sequined fabric depicting tropical foliage. Several versions of flowers in an egg shell white silk and chiffon were created, which in turn were held together by a set crystal. He strategically attached these to the bodice. Cap sleeves were created and attached then adorned with the same combination of flowers. Incidentally, cap sleeves adorned the bridal gown worn by Wigglebutt Wedding bride, Zoe.

The gown designed by Rubio for Zoe at Wigglebutt Wedding

“The next part of the design was voluminous skirt again started with the creation of the under garment. I rusched then attached three yards of the salmon taffeta. At each point I attached an Austrian crystal. The next layer was an egg shell colored Chantilly Lace,” Rubio said. “The final step was attaching the clusters of jeweled flowers as done on the bodice. Within each cluster I attached individual heart shaped glass prism hearts. I was to attach the skirt but at the very last minute decided to make the garment convertible with detachable skirt.”

Rubio and his dogs, Bogie and Kimba

I have known Anthony for a few years, and I can attest to his goals of comfort and safety to the dog. He prides himself on these attributes. This ensemble was held to the same standards: Ultimately with two fittings, the garment was finished in 10 days. The final touch was the magnificent jewels in the form of a belt of over 300 crystals, which intertwined as they wrapped around the waist. A necklace of Austrian crystals fit for a princess was chosen and Rubio crafted a special crown trimmed in white faux mink, wrapped in salmon silk taffeta, and then encrusted in hand sewn stones. The ultimate touches were a trim of pearls and glass stones. For the blessing she so deserves a cross of crystals as placed prominently on top.


A full house at the Hotel Penn

Rubio says he chose to present her in a carriage preceded by a fairy casting petals. He felt that for theatrics, he would create a faux dress from which she would emerge with a big “reveal”. The judging was strictly for the dress and that turned out to be the winning creation. “God Bless Princess Bella Mia,” he shares.

We look forward to next year’s pet fashion show and we invite you to join us for Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof, a fun-draiser for OBG Cocker Rescue.

Here’s Rose the Pug and dog mom, Lisa Coplin Kerner, on the runway workin’ it!

Learn more about Anthony Rubio Designs here.

 Question: Does your dog like to wear clothes?

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  1. Wow – what an event! Heather and Mr. K dress up frequently and I don’t think they mind one bit (so long as a treat is involved somewhere down the line). Heather looks just precious in dresses and Mr. K is quite dapper in sweaters! Thanks for giving us a look at this New York Pet Fashion show. Maybe next year we’ll get to go. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

  2. You may have noticed that only 2 people brought large props on stage. That is because they were NOT allowed. Candidly I thought it was very disrespectful to everyone else involved to put a mini fashion show into a contest. But that is just my opinion . . . I assume you wouldn’t want random people to do that at your events either!!

    1. Hi Erika: We don’t know the rules or any of the things having to do with the props. We are just reporting on the actual event and about the winning designer. Thanks for your input and chiming in.

  3. Awesome photos for such an extraordinary event. I wish I could have attended, maybe next year. After reading your article, I feel I was there watching these incredible outfits. Thanks for sharing this with your readers.

  4. Let us not praise those who mimicked designs of others before them. Mr. Rubio has insulted and poked fun at gowns by his peers in his exact interpretation of what he displayed. He wasn’t original at all, in fact he presented what others have already done before him.Let us also not say we are stating the facts when so many of the attendees were not permitted any props or gimmicks, don’t take my word take the word of the attendees ,again that’s if you want to state the facts. In closing it wasn’t a carriage let’s be accurate it was a food cart. I cannot believe all the negative that came out of an event that people once called The Event of the year. I assure from all the negative feedback that it will not be well attended next year, and that’s too bad because it’s supposed to raise money for a worthy cause.

    1. We have no idea on any of the things happening behind the scenes, but we hope that the dogs who were helped by this event will thrive and flourish.

  5. Have no idea what the happenings behind the scenes were, but I truly enjoyed the show and will definitely be back next year! This was my very first fashion show, and I am hooked!

  6. Hi Carol,
    I hate to have to say that I totally agree with Erika and Victoria. Anthony gets glorified under false pretense…..just saying.

    1. We interview folks from all walks of doggie life here on Fidose, so we welcome all opinions. Thanks for chiming in and have a good weekend! 😉

  7. The ballroom was super hot !!
    I couldn’t sit at my table with my friends because it was so tight . I guess I needed to be a size 0.
    Too hot for my dog and music a bit loud .
    I would love if there is a special section of show for designers displaying their designs . No contests but a team of designers working together.

    1. This was our first show. We had fun but I wish we had more time to socialize and network. I’m not a size 0 but we still had fun. I like your idea, Victoria, of the special show for designers.

      I would love to see the clothes more well represented. Thanks for your input!

  8. I would appreciate if you also would mention what designers Champ and Rose are wearing. They are both wearing designs by Pink Punk Puppy Designs and Rose was in the top 5 as well. Thank you very much <3

    1. You bet. Rose and Lisa are friends of ours. Thanks for letting us know. I saw your designs there and they were stunning. Very well done. We love to report these things.

      1. Thank you so much <3 I was very happy to have Rose modeling for me. Although I'm not sure what I most enjoyed, looking at Rose in her dress or looking at her proud Mommy <3

        1. Rose will be attending our Wigglebutts Go Hollywoof fundraising event on 09/20/14 and we cannot wait to see what she wears there, too. I love that little pug, and her mama is a good friend to us. She is a sweetheart. Your couture was divine, Severine!

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