Paddy likes his cashmere scarves (current season, of course), stylish raincoat for trots in wet weather, cosy sweaters when there’s chill in the air and colourful kerchiefs after grooming trips at the spa.
One of Ireland’s most photographed style leaders, he has appeared in seasonal fashion shoots, his image fashioned on countless T-shirts and on sequinned sweaters. His portrait has even been painted by a leading artist in the UK; another fan. He is also the proud owner of a Pittsburgh Steelers bespoke football jersey, gifted by his favourite uncle, Peter Rooney.
‘Dogs are all about love and happiness, as are hats,’ says Philip Treacy. ‘There is no difference making a hat for a dog or a person. Dogs are elegant and chic too’
Paddy Paws is a Dublin dog, a miniature schnauzer and close companion of the leading fashion designer Louise Kennedy, who is also a studio heart-throb. He is a high-profile example of what’s being called petcore, the current growth in clothing for dogs – and even cats – which has expanded during the pandemic with people spending more time with their pooches, walking them more, depending on them more for companionship and increasing the focus on their clothing and accessories.
Kennedy, however, being a no-nonsense Tipperary woman, maintains that when it comes to clothing for dogs there is nothing like a good harness for those with strong wills and that Paddy wasn’t that inclined to wear his Hugo & Otto raincoat. In New York City she has seen dogs with bootees (to protect their paws when the snow is salted) and even ones with high heels on the streets outside the Carlyle hotel. (According to New York Magazine, the best harness for small dogs is the Puppia Ritefit and for big dogs the Coastal Pet K9 Explorer and for puppies and nervous dogs the Voyager All Weather. Just so you know.)
In the Haute Dogs charity calendar for the Wild at Heart Foundation, rescued dogs are photographed with the most extravagant headwear; according to the milliner Philip Treacy, another dog lover, “Dogs are all about love and happiness, as are hats”. “There is no difference making a hat for a dog or a person. Dogs are elegant and chic too,” he comments on a whimsical creation for Lady Gaga and her French bulldog Asia. Visit his Instagram account for more details. The Irish hatmaker Aoife Kirwan has also contributed to the 2021 calendar.
Any search for pet clothing reveals dozens of sites selling everything from practical dog coats, jackets, harnesses and leads to crazy tulle skirts and wild headwear creations. Both high street and luxury brands have seen demand increase by 45 per cent, according to the auction site eBay, and some designers are even launching pet specific ranges.
Monika Petras, a dog groomer in Barna, Co Galway, says the most popular dog there is the bichon frise, but she has also groomed sheepdogs whose hair often gets matted. Coats – she sells items made by the Finnish company Hurtta – are more popular with the smaller dogs. In Dublin Lisa Kearney of Muttugly on Charlemont Street says customers don’t skimp on their pets and she is currently selling canine Christmas jumpers along with harnesses and raincoats.
“The dogs are like their children and people have become more reliant on them and there is no limit to spending when it comes to pets.” Millennials have become the biggest pet-owning generation.
For affluent pet owners, one super-stylish site is Temellini Milano from a designer who has worked for more than 20 years in human fashion with stints at Bottega Veneta and Armani. On offer in her Dog à Porter collection are trench coats (€141), parkas (€112) and raincoats (€126-€275). Mungo & Maud is another luxury dog and cat outfitter with dog pullovers in cashmere for £172 and dog bags (“when little legs need a little rest”) from £160. Hugo & Otto is a UK site with an Irish collection – dog beds with Irish names such as Cobh, Lismore, Dublin and Wexford from €9 upwards.
At the other end of the spectrum, H&M, Dunnes Stores and Marks & Spencers have inexpensive doggie items that include dog blankets, leads and bedding sets. Other sites include mollys.ie (dog tuxedo anyone? €27.99) sheepdogshop.co.uk; ralphlauren.com; lazybonezz.com (fans include Serena Williams and Kelly Osbourne); bestfriendsworld.ie and urbanpup.ie (Bitches Love Me tees, €16.75) to name but a few. There are annual dog fashion shows in London and New York and in the Clancy Quay development in Dublin’s Islandbridge, there are apartments exclusively reserved for pet owners with Bark Parks on site.
Paddy Paws does not have a social media site– “he has not been monetised yet” according to his owner, unlike the celebrated Choupette Lagerfeld who with 255,000 followers on Instagram keeps her fans constantly updated on her comings and goings. Such petinfluencers proliferate on social media but for you and your mutt, Christmas is coming, so time to paws for thought.