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The Catwalk Becomes a Dogwalk

By: Marie Redding

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Dogs took over the runway under the tent in Bryant Park to promote the new movie 102 Dalmatians, released in November 2000, and the show was probably the most fun the fashion crowd had all week. With the help of designers Betsey Johnson and Joe Boxer's Nicholas Graham, the Walt Disney Company sent kids and Cruella De Vil look-a-like models down the spotted runway wearing Dalmatian-inspired clothes.

All of the Dalmatians at the show were professionals, from a company called Birds & Animals, based in Lake Forest, Calif., which owns and trains all of their dogs to star on the big screen. The company also provided Disney with the Dalmatians for both movies. Eleven of their chic jet-setting hounds (including four puppies) were flown in for the New York show from their offices in California and Orlando, Fla.

They only had their own natural fur coats to show off, though, since the faux fur spotted ones they were supposed to wear didn't fit. (They will be on sale in Disney stores along with leashes when the movie is released.) Maybe the stylists and dressers in New York assumed that, like the waif-size human models, the dogs would be super-slim. Or maybe the pups were just too excited to be let loose on the runway. Either way, the big dogs posed for pictures and the puppies ran around in a giant, human-size "dog house," complete with a fenced-in backyard, in the lobby of the tent. On the way out, everyone stopped to play.

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