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‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

This year’s event will include a post-show seated dinner at the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York City.

‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

This look was inspired by the Alexander McQueen dress that is featured in “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.”

Just when you thought every celebrity’s red carpet turn at the 2024 Met Gala’s had been critiqued to the nines, an offshoot encore performance, so to speak, is coming up — “the Pet Gala.”

You read that right. Designer Anthony Rubio is orchestrating Monday night’s event with the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York City. He has reimagined Zendaya’s John Galliano-designed arrival look, Bad Bunny’s Maison Margiela Artisanal by John Galliano ensemble and Jennifer Lopez’s strapless Schiaparelli gown, as well as other standout looks, but for his canine models. During an interview Thursday, the designer said he has been working into the early hours of the morning, polishing up each of the looks. Rubio’s miniature version of the Alexander McQueen feather dress that is featured in the Costume Institute’s spring exhibition “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion” required a week’s worth of work — creating butterfly motifs from painted feathers and attaching them by hand.

‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

“The Pet Gala” is inspired by the Met Gala.

While last year’s Met Gala generated more than 12.3 billion media impressions during the live broadcast alone, the inaugural Pet Gala is expected to play well on social media too. After test driving a Pet Gala event with about 85 members of the media last year, Rubio is widening the audience to 150 people including members of the public. There will be photo-ops during the outdoor arrivals on a 21-foot red carpet in front of the museum’s Park Avenue entrance and then a runway show inside of the galleries.

‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

For the first, time the Pet Gala will hold a seated dinner.

After each of the 18 dogs has had a final runway turn, there will be a seated dinner for attendees — patrons, that is. Those who miss out will be able to check out Rubio’s pet designs in a monthlong exhibition at the animal-friendly nonprofit museum.

All of the custom designs have already been purchased by the dogs’ owners, Rubio said. Retailing between $450 and $1,200, the designs for dogs will benefit various organizations. Rubio said he has raised nearly $4 million in the past few years for the Guide Dog Foundation, the Humane Society and other nonprofits.

Having started designing for dogs in 2003, he still continues to create women’s apparel but not to the degree that he once did. Ninety percent of his annual business is driven by dogs’ apparel and 10 percent is womenswear. “My motto is, ‘Anthony Rubio designs [on the runway are] where the dogs are the models and the humans are the accessories,’” he said.

‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

Designers’ creations for Met Gala guests were the inspiration for each of Anthony Rubio’s designs.

His first canine look was made for a rescue dog that wouldn’t stop trembling. He wanted to make it feel as though it were being hugged and it worked, he said. Having always been “fascinated” with the Met Gala, he later created his own version of the extravagant Phillip Treacy hat that Sarah Jessica Parker wore to the 2011 Met Gala for the Costume Institute’s opening of “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” — albeit one that was dog-size.

‘The Pet Gala’ Designer Explains Designer Inspirations

Eighteen dogs will be on the runway at this year’s “Pet Gala.”

There is also a Pet Gala-themed documentary that is being developed by Kevin Lopez’s films. Rubio said of the dog-happy cultural trend, “If you turn on a television right now, there are commercials with talking dogs, dogs selling cars, dogs selling insurance — it’s a big thing now. Animals have come into their own and it’s wonderful.”

He continued, “In this day and age, where there is so much negativity in society and so many things going on in this world, we need something to brighten our day. This is why I do these things. I like to see people smiling and enjoying themselves, and being distracted by all of the nonsense that is going on around them.”