Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A century of dogs in Vogue

Jean Shrimpton and her Yorkshire terrier puppy Bertie, photographed by Eugene Vernier in 1963, feature in the book. Right: A canine-inspired T-shirt design by Christopher Kane

‘Never work with animals or children,’ was the stern advice from the legendary comedian, W C Fields. A glance through a recently-published book, however, will reveal just how important it is to share the stage with our four-legged friends.

Dogs in Vogue, by Judith Watt, chronicles the story of how pooches and poodles, borzois and bull terriers (among others), have shared their moment in the fashion spotlight

For 100 years, they have had a role to play in the story of Vogue, as companions to leaders of style and society, devoted pets of royalty, celebrities, fashionistas and artists. From the Duchess of Sutherland and her Pekinese in January, 1917, to Vivienne Westwood with her wire-haired fox terrier, Alexandra, in 1997, and Naomi Campbell, with her Yorkshire terrier, Dolce, in 2007, the book demonstrates how dogs have posed and pranced through the pages of the world’s most famous and influential fashion glossy.

The photographs document an era of canine chic: magnificent German shepherds and Great Danes, elegant Afghan hounds, pugs, poodles and Pekinese; the Duchess of Newcastle with her borzois; Marc Jacobs with his English bull terrier, Alfred; Jean Shrimpton with her Yorkshire terrier, Bertie; the supermodel Nadja Auermann with three Chinese crested hairless dogs.

“The next best thing to having the world at your feet is to have a dog at your heels,” Vogue wrote in 1930. “They are the only friends that money can buy. They are philosophers and scamps, mystics, snobs and saints. Some are at home on a satin cushion while others amiably fit anywhere."

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