This New York Fashion Week runway show has gone to the dogs.
Kimba, a 6-year-old Chihuahua; Wyatt, a 2-year-old poodle; and Rex, a 5-month-old puppy, were just a few of the 20 dogs taking center stage on the catwalk at the Saturday fashion show for Anthony Rubio’s spring/summer 2018 collection.
“The dogs that walk on the runway get a lot of attention,” fashion designer Anthony Rubio told InsideEdition.com. “The models that walk them are the accessories. If you’re going to walk your dog, you have to look the part.”
From a two-piece suit to a sequined gown to a feathered top hat, Rubio, who calls himself a “pet couturier,” makes sure each article of clothing is made with the pups’ comfort in mind.
“The animals are well taken care of,” Rubio explained. “Everything is taken into consideration when designing these garments.”
Dogs that are picked to model in his show must be well-behaved and acclimated to a busy environment, he explained, and the humans accompanying them in the show are chosen based on how well they get along with the dogs.
“I’m very particular,” Rubio said. “I don’t want anybody mishandling an animal.”
Although the shows can often be chaotic, with pups sometimes trembling in front of the flashing cameras or rushing to get off stage, Rubio, who has been organizing the dog-centric fashion shows for the last five years, explained there has never been an “accident.”
“None of the dogs have done No. 1 or No. 2 on the runway yet,” he laughed.
This season’s show, inspired by his recent vacation with his two Chihuahuas in Greece, was held to raise awareness for Animal Light House, the organization that rescued orphan-turned-supermodel Rex off a beach in Puerto Rico ahead of Hurricane Irma.
The Guide Dog Foundation was also represented in the show by Wyatt, the chic black poodle that closed the show. He was raised in a Georgia prison and later trained to be a guide dog for a veteran.
“We do everything with a heartfelt message,” Rubio said, explaining that many shelter dogs that are featured on the runway are adopted by the end of the show.
It all started when 12 years ago, when Rubio rescued a Chihuahua he named Bandit.
“It was chained up to a fence and it was being beaten. Police said if I don’t take this dog in, they’re going to put him down,” Rubio explained. “I said, ‘Not on my watch. This dog is going to live the life of a king for the rest of his life.’”
He bought Bandit a pair of sunglasses, and when he realized how much the pup loved them, he began building the brand around his beloved pet
Bandit passed away four years ago, and Kimba and his brother eventually took on his legacy.
“They have been in every New York Fashion Week show I’ve done,” Rubio said. “They open and close the show. It’s magical.”
For this season’s show, Kimba sported a stretch tuxedo encrusted with Swarovski crystals and glass beading with a matching top hat, “of course,” Rubio added.
A model wearing a gown of similar texture cradled Kimba in her arms as they strutted down the catwalk.
“Kimmy here has been wearing clothes since he was two months old,” Rubio said. “He’s very comfortable, and if you leave him alone long enough, he’ll fall asleep wearing this.”