The storylines out of Doggies on the Catwalk last Friday were almost as numerous as the crowd on hand: Local celebs, a four-legged hero, a husky drag queen, budding fashion designers and a reality show favorite.
That, in a nutshell, summed up an evening that went more glam than in the past as it worked to raise funds for Pets Are Loving Support, the non-profit pet care provider for critically-ill people best known for its monthly bingo nights featuring Bubba D. Licious and Alexandria Martin.
The premise is pretty simple. Think a mix of Bravo’s “NYC Prep” and Lifetime’s “Project Runway” — ouch, it still hurts to say Lifetime — and a little sprinkle of Bravo’s “Launch My Line” — ouch, it hurts to watch that last one. Swap out Tim Gunn for E. Vincent Martinez (third photo), who is just as sassy, fashionable and gay as Gunn, and make the setting Grady High School’s UrbanCouture program, which Martinez founded.
So, Friday’s Doggies was the culmination of the UrbanCouture students working with local celebrities to design an outfit for both the celeb and their pooch. The runway show, the centerpiece of the event, features the celeb working their fashion with the pup in tow. And as any dog owner can tell you, walking their four-legged best friend can be challenging enough. Mix in a dog dressed in couture, telvevsion cameras, bright lights, a runway and 300 people and hilarity ensues.
The show, in its third year, went upscale as Martinez inked a deal with Georgia Public Broadcasting to host the event at its plush studios on 14th Street in Midtown. Last year, Grady hosted the event in its gym and raised $2,208 for PALS.
The move to GPB offered a larger space and the opportunity to turn Doggies into television, with CNN’s Holly Firfer serving as anchor and mixing backstage reporting and video clips between runway appearances. The show airs on GPB-TV on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.
Local celebrities working the runway this year included WGCL’s Jen Mayerle, V-103’s morning show drag mistress Miss Sophia (fourth photo), CNN weather hunk Rob Marciano (bottom photo), actress Catherine Dyer, V-103 morning host Frank Ski, gay celebrity stylist Richie Arpino (top photo), radio and TV personality Tom Sullivan (second photo) and model Veronica Best (top photo).
Student designers included Kelsi Eccles, Sarah Darrow, Jennifer Ramirez, Lakisha Beauford, Sarah Collins, Savanna Sweeny, Claire Buyens, Brenae Wright, Jhari Ponder, Destini Rhone, Maia Miller, Taylor Alford and Shelby Rudd.
Also on hand was surprise guest designer Mychael Knight (fifth photo), who gained notoriety during the third season of “Project Runway” and with a cameo on the first season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Knight dropped by the event last year and this year, designed a dress for Best.
He also pitched in to solve a backstage fashion emergency, according to the AJC’s Buzz:
Seems the dress created for CNN’s Holly Firfer, who hosted the charity event taped at Georgia Public Broadcasting studios, ended up offering a little more boom-boom pow than public television audiences might be comfortable with.
Knight’s solution? Safety pins! Lots of them. The result was artful and creative and no one was the wiser. (Well, until now. Heh heh.)
“He saved me!” said Vincent Martinez, founder and director of Grady’s UrbanCouture program and the brains behind the annual fashion show. It benefits Pets are Loving Support, which provides food and vet care for the companion animals of critically ill, elderly or disabled metro Atlantans.
There were also a few fashion faux paws, says ATL Intel blogger Richard Eldredge:
But as usual, there were a few fashion faux paws when it came time for the couture-clad canines to strut their stuff on the catwalk.
Jessicashops.com retail reporter Jessica Dauler had to borrow a pooch from pal KC Public Relations co-owner Kristin Cowart after Dauler’s beloved Sasha demonstrated some “behavioral issues” that prevented her from participating.
But Cowart’s dog Gatsby arrived on stage with Dauler sans wardrobe.
Cracked host and CNN anchor Holly Firfer: “Gatsby, you’re naked!”
In the audience, Cowart had a hand over her mouth.
“My first thought was ‘Gatsby has eaten his outfit,’” she told Intel. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility. This dog has eaten a sock, Miracle-Gro, and a pair of $20 bills before.”
There’s a diva on every catwalk.
What’s left? That’s right — the four-legged hero. That would be Sybil, who was crowned PALS mascot last year and worked the runway during Rubbing Noses in September.
Sybil was paired with Marciano on Friday (photo right), which came just days after a heart-warming tale that unfolded with owners Mike Patterson and Robert Standard at their LaGrange home.
For nine hours one brutally cold night last week, Mike Patterson lay on the frozen ground. Weak from recent surgery, he’d gone outside and slipped, unable to get up. When workers finally found him, his dog Sybil was curled next to her master, keeping him warm and, Patterson’s friends believe, alive. “She stayed with him throughout the night,” said Robert Standard, Patterson’s roommate. “We think she kept him from freezing to death.” Patterson, who spent a few days in intensive care with hypothermia, is now recovering at their LaGrange home. Sybil has shown no ill effects.