Fashion has gone to the dogs

Tigers and leopards haven't quite become extinct in the world of fashion but it's dogs who dominated the ramp at London Fashion Week in February this year. With Louis Vuitton's Fall-Winter campaign featuring adorable fluffy Japanese Chins, and Kanye West prancing about in Ricardo Tisci's Rottweiler-inspired line from Givenchy, designers, it seems, are singing, Bow chicka wow wow

Five super-stylish vintage cars pull up outside an abandoned aerodrome in Brooklyn. Dressed in beige overalls, a man puts up a screen, while a small crew readies for a glamorous fashion shoot at the unusual location.

Jean Charles de Catelbajac Autumn-Winter 2011 line saw a sequinned
Dalmation tunic

French design powerhouse Louis Vuitton's Fall-Winter 2011-2012 ad campaign is to be shot here today, and top notch models are expected any second. Sixteen year-old Zimbabwean Nyasha Maronhodze, Canadian Ana s Pouliot, Dutch model Daphne Groeneveld, Fei Fei Sun from China, Danish model Gertrud Hegelund and Zuzanna Bijoch from Poland are the the fresh faces that will have the honour of being associated with the latest advertisement that LV will roll out for the brand -- and seven pairs of pedigree canines that made it through a grueling round of auditions.

In subsequent interviews, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton's Artistic Director revealed, "Steven Meisel (the photographer) and I met and decided we would do this wonderful story of beautiful vintage cars, little dogs and fresh-faced young women. It's a very classic scenario, and of course, it suggests travel, but I think we gave it a fresh, modern and sometimes a little naughty, tongue-in-cheek spin."

Other puppies to be featured in the Fall-Winter 2011 shows of top designers included a terrier, a Scotty and a poodle (dyed bright pink) who walked the ramps for Emporio Armani (Milan), Mulberry (London) and Isaac Mizrahi (New York).

We are not quite certain how or when the fashion world went barking mad but Jean Charles de Catelbajac, who frequently designs pop icon Lady Gaga's eccentric wardrobes, did have an Irish wolfhound walk the ramp with a skinny black-clad model for his Autumn-Winter collection last year. This year however, the French nobleman-designer's A/W line seems entirely inspired by Dalmatians.

The Cruella bug infected other designers this year too. At around the same time that LV was shooting the canine campaign, on the streets of London, 28 year-old Polish model Anja Rubik was striking a pose for Kurt Geiger's Autumn-Winter campaign, dressed in the designer's 60s-inspired collection which included a pair of ankle-length Dalmatian-print ponyskin boots. Then, in March this year, celebrities Liv Tyler and Kanye West appeared at a Paris fashion show, both sporting Givenchy's growling Rottweiler jumper designed for the brand's pre-Fall 2011 collection by Ricardo Tisci. And priced at $ 925 or Rs 42,633.25 (approx.), Balenciaga's pre-Fall 2011 50 per cent Angora wool sweater with the image of a friendly German Shepherd has been the subject of numerous fashion reports and articles.

Not to be left behind, UK's Topshop introduced Dalmatian Swing Coats (priced at 98 GBP or Rs 7,209.79), a whole line of blouses, shoes, belts, dresses, sweaters, even knit shorts with doggy prints (22GBP or Rs 1,619.94) in their Autumn-Winter 2011 collection. Although some of these can be ordered online, city-based dog lovers will love Zara's doggy-tees for men and kids. Emblazoned with images of dogs in watercolour painting effect, tees for men will set you back by just about Rs 1,390.

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