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14 Feb

This Downtown Label Cast Actual Dogs In Its New York Fashion Week Show

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New York label Gauntlett Cheng’s designs have always encapsulated a certain homespun unconventionality. Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng’s brand, one of the shining lights of the city’s fashion underground, consistently employs friends and relatives in various ways, from showing in a friend’s RV to enlisting Gauntlett’s mom to aid in all of the technical handiwork. And this season, they’ve extended their world to include man’s best friend as well: At their runway show at St. Mark’s Church this past weekend, they sent eight dogs down the runway in pint-size Gauntlett Cheng creations alongside their owners, all of whom are friends of the two designers.

The idea to create canine clothes came, naturally, from a member of Cheng’s family. “My sister has an Italian greyhound named Toby, and for months she’s been asking me to make Toby clothes,” she says. “And then, I just had an idea, Why don’t we incorporate it into our line? And then we have so many friends with amazing dogs that we just decided we’re going to have a Gauntlett Cheng Paws.” While the approach might seem gimmicky, Cheng and Gauntlett insist that they’re in the dog garment business for the long haul—they want it to be a full diffusion line, not just a one-off for this season.

Photo: Dillon Sachs
Photo: Dillon Sachs

The theme of this season’s collection, Happy and Healthy, ultimately melded well with the dog-centric runway. The lineup incorporated floral velour dresses, deep green bodysuits, and some signature pieces brought back from previous seasons, including the moth hole–ridden fabric from their second collection that made an appearance in various silhouettes. There were some new surprises, too, aside from the dogs, including garments made from a custom print depicting childlike characters in unconventional poses: sleeping, drinking wine, sitting on the floor. “It’s sort of about finding contentment with things that are a little bit off and a little bit strange,” Gauntlett explains. “We have such a diverse cast and I like the idea of the dogs being a little different, like a small dog or different breeds, and all of their owners walking them as well,” says Cheng.

The theme of this season’s collection, Happy and Healthy, ultimately melded well with the dog-centric runway. The lineup incorporated floral velour dresses, deep green bodysuits, and some signature pieces brought back from previous seasons, including the moth hole–ridden fabric from their second collection that made an appearance in various silhouettes. There were some new surprises, too, aside from the dogs, including garments made from a custom print depicting childlike characters in unconventional poses: sleeping, drinking wine, sitting on the floor. “It’s sort of about finding contentment with things that are a little bit off and a little bit strange,” Gauntlett explains. “We have such a diverse cast and I like the idea of the dogs being a little different, like a small dog or different breeds, and all of their owners walking them as well,” says Cheng.

Photo: Ben Bibriesca
Photo: Ben Bibriesca

From Vogue

Hannah Kim
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