New York Fashion Week Goes to the Dogs

Kate wearing Noize Apparel sportswear accompanied by Rolo the Rottweiler
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

There’s an old show business adage: “Never work with children or animals”; they will invariably steal every scene. On Friday morning, humankind’s best friends (and one 9-year-old model) stole the show at Elysian Impact’s Inaugural CatWalk FurBaby fashion show, held at Sony Hall on West 46th Street.

“This is the first time fashion, animals, and charity have been brought together in New York Fashion Week. To do it in a way that will benefit the lives of countless pets adds a layer of meaning that will not soon be forgotten”:

Karen Floyd, founder of ELYSIAN
Karen Floyd
Photo by Instagram

CatWalk FurBaby brought together designers, models, rescue animals, and charities for a morning of passion with a purpose. It was created by ELYSIAN, an international luxury lifestyle brand founded by Karen Floyd. Karen wants to support our furry companions by bringing together creative powerhouses, women change-makers, and animal welfare organizations.

Lisa Crites wearing Merci Dupri Clothiers with Einstein the Mini Pomeranian
Photo by Instagram

Approximately 250 – 300 were in attendance, with 10 charities and designers competing for a monetary prize. Ten models – wearing outfits designed by fashion designers Marc Bouwer, Malan Breton, Victor dE Souza, Anne Fontaine, Gloria Lee, Merci Dupre, Nicole Miller, Noize Apparel, and Brook Wilder – graced the runway with a four-legged companion.

Daphne wearing Victor dE Souza accompanied by Daisy the Great Pyrenees
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The event was in collaboration with BISSELL PetFoundation, Runway 7, and SohoMuse. DRC Ventures, a global catalyst for conservation efforts led by visionary founder Dr. Christina Rahm, was the event’s title sponsor. DRC Ventures hosted the Merci Dupre Clothiers couture line, which is expected to become the ultimate in luxury, eco-fashion, and environmental protection.

“Our nation’s animal shelters are facing unprecedented overcrowding due to inflation, housing restrictions, and a decrease in adoptions,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. The Foundation is the beneficiary charity of Catwalk FurBaby which seeks to make a difference for homeless pets in ten animal welfare organizations across the country. By supporting Catwalk FurBaby, participants will help deserving pets receive much-needed second chances through this one-of-a-kind event, observes Bissell.

Logan wearing Malan Breton with her dog Taylor, a Great Pyrenees Collie mix
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

FYI, Cathy and I worked together at Harper’s Bazaar. Cathy was an assistant to the late great Nonnie Moore, who served as fashion director from 1980 – 1984. I had not seen her for about 40 years, so it was fun to catch up quickly. Meanwhile, she has not changed one bit!

Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, co-founder and president of the creative networking site Soho Muse was the animated emcee. The attractive, tall blonde was in full hair and makeup, wearing a form-fitting, floor-length red gown and towering red high-heeled pumps. She looked like a glamorous contestant in a Miss America or Miss Universe contest.

In fact, the event was imbued with the feeling of a beauty pageant, down to the celebrity judges headed by Fern Mallis with Carol Alt and Karen Abercrombie. Those in the audience and others following online could vote for Elysian Magazine’s People’s Choice Award.

Anne Fontaine with Valentine the Poodle
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

Big Dog Ranch Rescue of Florida had that honor. It featured designer Anne Fontaine wearing a frothy red tulle dress of her own design accompanied by a similarly clad Poodle from China aptly named Valentine.

Elizabeth Shafiroff, far right, with Quinn Copeland & disabled rescue dog, Fede
Photo by Marilyn Kirschner

The 1st place winner, and recipient of the $50,000 prize, was New York-based Global Strays, founded by Elizabeth Shafiroff, who conceived of the persuasive concept. A 9-year-old model, Quinn Copeland, first walked with Henry the Chihuahua, a former stray from Puerto Rico, and then, with Fede, a mixed breed, former stray, and a disabled rescue dog from Mexico who had to be wheeled in a cart down the runway. Quinn’s dress, designed by Gloria Lee, had globes on it and the colors of the charity – blue, green, and orange.

Jean Shafiroff, who is as passionate about animal rights as her daughter, serves on the board of Global Strays and was in the audience. As Jean proudly noted, the $50,000 prize will go to good use for animal welfare programs.

Latest Comments:

  1. Great article! I enjoyed every sentence–so true, unfortunate as it may be. I even learned some new jargon. Hopefully, it…

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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