Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Doggie Couture: Dignified Coats for Discriminating Canines

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Doggie Couture: Dignified Coats for Discriminating Canines

Article excerpt

`DOG COATS?" my friend Jane said, alarmed. "This woman makes coats out of DOG SKIN? "

No, absolutely not.

Suzanne Manolidis makes coats for dogs, not out of them.

She started when Vroma was 16. Sixteen is old for a dog, and Manolidis could see that her longtime companion - a wire-haired terrier mix rescued from the street in the dead of winter with icicles in her coat - was beginning to feel her age. Her step was less certain and, whenever she was outside in the winter, she was cold.

They tried coats and sweaters from pet stores, but none of them was quite right, neither stylish enough nor warm enough to suit Vroma. So Manolidis got out her scissors and her mother's ancient portable Singer and began experimenting. She trekked through mill-end outlets in search of really warm fabrics and consulted patternmakers about sizing. She experimented with all manner of complicated step-in straps and fasteners. Eventually, she arrived at what must be the ultimate . . . well, dog coat hardly sounds la-di-da enough.

These coats are beautifully made and oddly reminiscent of the ones little girls used to wear to "The Nutcracker," back before the invention of pink parkas. Most of them are wool checks or tweeds, with a contrasting solid-color wool plush collar and matching covered buttons and a cozy pile lining that looks enough like fur to be satisfyingly lush, but not so much so that a tender-hearted pooch might worry.

The curved seams across the saddle are purely decorative - they add a couture feeling - and so are the buttons, because (and this is the beauty of it) the coat fastens with two large Velcro overlaps that make it easy as pie to get onto even the wriggliest cat. (Not that it's meant for cats, but I didn't have a dog to try it out on.)

Most admirably, these coats aren't a bit cutesy. They have a formality and a gravitas that seems likely to appeal to the sort of dog that prefers not to be made a fool of. …

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