Elegant, tailored outfits are not reserved just for fashionistas in Italy -- couture for dogs is proving a hit with some Milan pet owners.
Man's best friend should not be overlooked when it comes to cashmere sweaters and woolen coats, according to designer Giovanna Temellini, who enables the fashion conscious to match their style with that of their pooch. "Everything is born out of love," says the 57-year-old, who has been in the fashion industry for 25 years working for labels such as Bottega Veneta and Armani and is an active supporter of animal welfare groups. One evening just under a year ago in her workshop, Temellini recalled, her daughter said to her: "You do so many little things for all the dogs..." referring to her animal protection voluntary work. "But when it rains, mine gets his ears all wet," her daughter continued.
The following evening a member of her design team set to work making a hooded coat for the pet, to match the winter jacket of Temellini's daughter. From there sprung her made-to-measure fashion line just for dogs entitled Temellini Dog A Porter, with its first shop opening this month. Her staff use a dog-shaped mannequin to create a range of sizes for different breeds, including dobermans, basset hounds and greyhounds. But for each commission, the canine customer has its measurements taken to ensure a snug fit.
One dark grey jacket from her dogs' range sports a high collar with buttons down the front, with the fabric matching a woman's over-sized coat from Temellini's main collection, for women, which she began 15 years ago. But the focus on high-quality fabrics and stylish cuts means a cashmere T-shirt costs 142 euros ($171), a merino wool bomber jacket 212 euros and a coat with small pockets 252 euros. One customer snapped up an entire wardrobe for his dog, adopted from a shelter, because after what she had been through, "she deserved it". Twenty-four-year-old student, Beatrice Gerevini, who likes to coordinate her dog's outfit with her own, said it helps the pair to "create a connection".
It is also "a sort of game, a way of being noticed -- people smile when they see us". Temellini, who continues to do some work for other labels too, says she wants to create a collection suitable for all dogs, including those with disabilities. "I am very respectful and attentive to all the requirements of dogs which are to be able to move, run, get dirty and socialise. "I refuse to do something that would restrict or ridicule a dog because they'll be aware of it." (AFP)Photos: Marco Bertorello / AFP