This bank holiday Monday, east London’s streets will resound with the pitter-patter of immaculately clipped claws as the Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant returns. Canine-chic expert Sara White previews the pooch parade.
Fur, fashion and a fair amount of bum-sniffing might not be most people’s idea of a fun August bank holiday, but the Old Spitalfields Market Paw Pageant – now in its third year – is fast becoming a tradition for the city’s dog lovers. As well as raising funds to rehome London’s dogs and cats, this canine competition offers a chance to see the best in designer dogwear.
The afternoon begins with a show of next season’s pet-centred sartorial creations by east London designers Love My Dog. Their autumn/ winter 2014 collection promises chunky knitwear such as snuggly snoods and roll-neck sweaters along with custom-made coats and dapper bow ties, both with a hint of houndstooth and a touch of tartan. Accompanying the four-legged models will be their (probably) less hairy human counterparts, sporting looks from Spitalfields fashion boutiques like NW3, Oliver Bonas, Albam, Jigsaw Menswear and Hackett.
But all that catwalk carry-on is just a precursor to the main event. The Paw Pageant proper is open to all mutts (for £10 or £8 if you pre-register) with proceeds going to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. However, don’t think you can just whack a silly hat on your hound and walk away with the bounty of prizes from Love My Dog. Two-time Best in Show winners Alfie and Betty have set the bar high. The unlikely terrier and French bulldog duo wowed the crowd as a pearly king and queen in 2012 and again in 2013 as French onion-sellers (see top centre) rocking berets, Breton stripes and a small bike.
This year’s judges, including model Tuuli Shipster and fashion photographer Rankin, will be scoring five categories: Dressed Up to the Canines (for furry fashionistas); Dog’s Got Talent (clever pooches); Radiant Rescue (ravishing rehomed hounds); Dog-el-ganger (best human-and-hound lookalikes); and Paw-fection (Best in Show).
There’s plenty of other action to sniff out on the day. Hot hounds can cool off with an ice cream in the Las Iguanas doggy garden and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home will be providing free microchipping and dog-tagging, while humans can indulge in an array of discounts at Spitalfields shops and restaurants. Know what? You’d be barking to miss it.
Find out more about the Paw Pageant.
Free, Monday August 25, 1pm – 3pm, Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW.
By Sara White (editor of styletails.com).