Dolly, a five-pound Maltese, is one well-dressed pooch. She accompanies her owner, Wendy Klein, to work daily and dresses for success. Her extensive wardrobe consists of collars adorned with Austrian crystal and 40 sweaters and coats, including a brown wool "Jackie-O" number with matching pillbox hat. "Nothing is too good for her," says Klein, a Manhattan headhunter who scours the city for unique items.
You may scoff at the notion of showering silk on four-legged creatures. But many pet owners think otherwise--as a growing number of pet boutiques can attest. Some owners are so rich they think nothing of shelling out large sums in the pursuit of rare items such as four-poster beds and canine trench coats. Others simply want to lavish on pets some of the unconditional love the animals give them.
To see what's in style for privileged pets, look no farther than shops that serve their wealthy owners (table). Barneys New York sells a line of upscale dog products that includes a $500 fur-trimmed beaver and leather coat from Chic Doggie. For dogs who must sleep in style, there's designer Henry Beguelin's $950 woven leather bed, in red or tan. Tiffany's, meanwhile, sells silver collar tags shaped like bells, bowls, bones, or paws for $65.
If costumes are your thing, check out cyberboutique Animal Fair's fireman's coat ($98), opera coat ($95), and tuxedo ($120). Or your mutt may be more comfortable in the 100% silk emperor's coat priced between $143 and $174, depending on size, at Fetch, a New York pet boutique. It goes with the emperor's bed--a black velvet cushion with gold insignia, mounted on a mahogany finished base for $470.
SOFT PAWS. Of course, pets that sport these togs must be well-coiffed. Parness shampoos and conditioners ($20 a bottle at Fetch) contain such ingredients as walnut extract and chamomile to soothe and calm delicate skin. Other toilette items include Henry and Henrietta colognes for $68. Some people even buy Paw balm moisturizer ($16) for themselves, says Fetch owner Alex Kealy.
You may prefer to leave the grooming to others. The New York Dog Spa & Hotel (212 243-1199) offers a "day of beauty" that includes haircuts and pedicures, priced according to breed. For high-strung dogs and those suffering from arthritis, massages--at $65 an hour--are "extremely soothing," says office manager Susan Levine. Hollywood Hounds (www.hollywoodhounds.com; 323 650-5551) in Los Angeles offers similar services, plus "bark mitzvahs," weddings, and birthday parties that start at $250.
Meanwhile, pets with picky palates may feast on the offerings from Three Dog Bakery, which has 30 stores nationwide. Its low-fat treats for the holidays include cookies in the shape of Christmas trees, Santas, and dreidels. And Fetch offers canned salmon treats, Kitty Calamari, and Popcorn Shrimp for $6 and up. To serve these delicacies in style, Fetch also sells bone china bowls starting at $70.
To immortalize your pet, track down one of a growing number of painters and photographers who specialize in canine and feline portraits. Jim Dratfield in New York--whose clients include actress Jennifer Aniston and Henry Kissinger--will take artistic shots. Three matted prints and a dozen note cards are included in the $895 tab.
Whatever motivates you to spring for such items, you can be sure your pet won't return them. Imagine how nice it would be if all of your holiday gifts were so well received.