Leather and lace

Posted on 13 May 2010 at 11:38am
By ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

Couture isn’t just for people. Four Legged Fashion returns with designer duds — doggie-style


HOT DOGS | The sassy pink dog-gown is, appropriately enough, from BitchNewYork.com’s Haute Puppy collection; Frank is dressed for a night at TMC, modeling Phoebe Couture by Kay Unger.


FOUR LEGGED FASHION

Dallas Trade Mart Grand Pavilion
2100 N. Stemmons Freeway
May 14. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets from $75. 214-634-0204.
FourLeggedFashion.org

At most fashion shows, the stars are the designs — and the designers.

But that’s not necessarily the case at Four Legged Fashion. There, it’s models who drive it. And they’re all dogs.

But that’s a good thing.

The second annual fundraiser — which this year includes many enviable auction packages for humans, and features a disco theme — gives doggie style a new meaning, with poochie poseurs who wouldn’t dream of walking a — gasp! — "catwalk" stealing the show.

And the star of the stars is Frank.

Frank is an unlikely runway superstar. He started out life barely holding onto it. When he was a 12-week-old pup, he was hit by a car, crushing his rear quarters.

"I had a broken ankle, thigh, hip, fractured pelvis and toes — nine breaks in all," says Frank through his interpreter Terri Tomlinson, who also chairs the event. "They put rods and plates in me. I was on a morphine drip and spent three-and-a-half months at the vet hospital. They didn’t think I would make it."

But he did, then he fell into the laps of Tomlinson and her partner Melinda Webb, who just days earlier had lost their 13-year-old sheepdog.

"Our house felt so empty. We took in Frank to foster, but I said after the second day he was never leaving. He was everything we had wished for," Tomlinson says of the healer-lab-shepherd mix. ("He just a black dog," she says of his pedigree.)

Eventually, Frank found his way to being the spokesmutt and senior runway model for the "canine meets couture" event. It’s not a role he relishes.

"I don’t really care for the clothes, though I kind of like the leather coat covered in studs and grommets [I'm wearing in this show]," Frank says. "Terri had to work with me to get me to move on the runway at first. But I realize now that when I’m working I must wear clothing. I know I’m doing good."

He was so hard to manage during rehearsals, one organizer asked Tomlinson, "Would it be too gay if we had a male model walk him down the runway?" She laughed. "Look what he’s wearing — he looks like he should be at TMC," she says. A male escort was OK’d.

Frank has taken to the fashion aspect over time. He’s a frequent "speaker" at events throughout the year, talking about fashion and animal rescue. And some clothes have growled… er, grown … on him.

"I love Finley— that’s the designer I wore last year," he says. "That look specializes in men’s shirts and ties — it’s very masculine. Like me. And I have some black-and-white paisley to wear off-season now."

He also admires a black ball gown with huge crystal neckline designed for a brilliant little cocker named Dixie Chick. "She’s all that," Frank says with a snap. "It looks like something Sue Ellen would wear on Dallas."

There’s gotta be some gay guy who wants to snatch that up — maybe even one who’s not a dog owner. After all, fashion is fashion … no matter who wears it. •

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 14, 2010.

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