Bavarian Haute Couture Goes to the Dogs | Current Affairs | DW | 10.08.2004
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Current Affairs

Bavarian Haute Couture Goes to the Dogs

The owner of a shop selling traditional German clothing has put her talents in the service of man's best friend, designing Lederhosen and other typically Bavarian garb for canines. No word yet on what the dogs think.


This pooch definitely has an aura of Bavarian chic about him

Hildegard Bergbauer first learned to appreciate garments for dogs as a child, when she used to visit the town fair and see pups dressed up for theater performances.

"The animals appeared on stage with little handbags and hats," she said. "It was a sight that I'll never forget."

She's run a boutique selling traditional Bavarian clothing, lederhosen and dresses called dirndls, for twenty years. Three years ago, she started sewing her own designs, and it was then that those childhood memories of Spot in a skirt and Fido in a fedora came rushing back.

If humans can run around in leather shorts and knee socks or frilly smocks that are décolleté to the extreme, why can't your average pooch?

Now Bergbauer has solved that particular injustice by designing dog-sized versions of the clothing, including little dresses with lace collars and cowhide shorts with tooled leather suspenders.

"The idea has gone down really well," she said. "People think it's a lot of fun."

Bergbauer began taking her doggie creations seriously after she once on a lark created a hat for her mastiff. "She looked so funny and people liked it so much, I started designing more for my animals," she said.

Now the story of Bergbauer's creations is making its way across the German media landscape. Despite her growing popularity, she's not going to let it lower her standards. Looking for off-the-rack apparel? You'll have to go elsewhere. Bergbauer runs a custom shop, designing the canine clothes individually for her four-legged clients, taking color and coat thickness into consideration.

Some of the clothes prove useful, she said, especially for short-haired dogs who can get chilly in southern Germany's often snowy winters. For those with longer hair, this latest in Bavarian doggy chic is more of a fashion statement, which can come in handy for those who want to look the part at Oktoberfest or on a hike in the Alps. But just like with human fashion, practicality is often not the first consideration.

"The hats aren't so handy for going on walks," she said. "But the lederhosen are fine once the dog gets used to them." The dogs weren't commenting -- likely just praying that yodelling lessons aren't next on the agenda.

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