In what has to be the giddiest charity collaboration of all time, Italian retailer Luisa Via Roma asked 21 designers to dress Steiff toy pugs in their own mini couture creations. The entire collection will be available on eBay and auctioned off for charity. Up for auction are pugs dressed in outfits by the fashion design elite, such as Valentino, Balmain, Mary Katronzou and Etro, and customized exclusively for the luxury online boutique with all proceeds going to UNICEF. Each week until May 6th there will be three different pugs dressed in their designer digs to bid on, and the designs don’t disappoint. Each creation reflects a different designer’s style, mostly drawing inspiration from their Spring/Summer 2012 collections. The results are both comical and adorable.
The Balmain pug, for example, is decked out in baroque trousers and a gold and brass beaded jacket that captures the ornately embellished style typical of the label. Katranzou’s pug-outfit is covered in brightly colored beaded flowers, playing on her usual medium of computer-generated colour she uses to decorate her designs with. Valentino’s pug takes inspiration from those famous studded T-bar heels every fashion editor was seen wearing in the front row two seasons ago, wearing a red leather studded harness and lead. Victor and Rolf wrapped their stuffed toy pug in red and pink ribbons, paying homage to their artistic, concept-driven aesthetic and sweet Spring/Summer 2012 collection, while Etro stayed true to their Boho-chic style, using one of the New Jazz Age inspired prints from the house’s most recent show.
All proceeds from the pugs’ sale will be donated to the UNICEF Project ARISE (Appropriate Resources for Improving Street Children’s Environment), a project aiming to reintegrate street children from Bangladesh into society, educating them and finding them homes. Fashion bloggers and Vogue Italia have joined the project, called Pug Dog for Happy Kids, with several fashion bloggers adopting a pug to show their support for the initiative and helping to raise awareness of the auction worldwide.
With over 140 million inhabitants, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Many children are deprived of home and family because of widespread poverty and devastating natural disasters, forcing them onto the streets. According to UNICEF, the first beneficiaries of the Pug Dog for Happy Kids project are 3,500 street children between 6 and 18 years who have been identified as those at the highest risk. Whether you’re in it for the pug or just to donate, it’s a great cause to get behind – so get bidding!
Place your bets on the pugs here, or for an outright donation, there are also exclusive Pug Dogs for Happy Kids tote bags on sale for $197 on the site.