Adoptable Senior Dog of the Week: Louie
Dogs are getting in on taking selfies too

Canine Runway Event Haute Dog SF 3 Will Benefit Senior Dogs

Get your tickets while you still can for San Francisco's chicest canine event of the year. On February 7th posh pooches will once again showcase couture outfits designed specifically for them by some of the Bay Area’s most prominent interior designers with exquisite fabrics provided by showrooms at the San Francisco Design Center (SFDC) as they walk the runway at Haute Dog SF 3. 

The evening is more than just a night of pretty faces strutting their stuff. This year it is also a chance for the SFDC to raise money for and awareness of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Read our exclusive interview with Rhonda Hirata, marketing director of SFDC and Alf Nucifora, Chairman of the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco and learn how Muttville was chosen as a beneficiary, where the design teams get their inspiration, how they came up with this great event, and much more.[...]

Miss Jackie the MinPin with Sherri Franklin, Muttville Founder and Director

As a San Francisco dog lover, and nonprofit volunteer, it makes me happy to see events like this going on in my fair city. We live in a wonderful part of the country, with lots of talented people and incredible wealth. It's important that we bring that together to benefit those most vulnerable in our community. Haute Dog SF 3 sponsored by the SFDC is a great example of what I'm referring to.

Here’s Rhonda Hirata, marketing director of SFDC and Alf Nucifora, Chairman of the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco explaining how they came up with the event, why you might be one of the lucky ones to fall in love with a senior dog that night, and advice for other local nonprofits trying to reach more donors in 2014:

How did you come up with the idea for the event?
Haute Dog SF is a joint-collaboration developed and produced by The Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco and the San Francisco Design Center. The concept was first hatched in 2011 with its inaugural execution in February of 2012. Although there was initial uncertainty as to the potential of the event and its likely appeal, the kick-off event drew an unexpected turn-out of 600 + (vs. an expected audience of 300+) as well as 25 runway dogs. The event garnered front page treatment in the San Francisco Chronicle and significant digital and social media coverage. The sequel event in 2013 (Haute Dog SF 2) saw the audience grow to 750 with 50 runway dogs. In 2014 we anticipate an increased audience and continued notoriety for Haute Dog SF 3.


Venetian House of Fortuny
Venetian House of Fortuny inspired interior designer Juliana Carlsen to create a Fortuny coat with matching leash


Haute Dog SF was designed to be a “celebration of dogs” event showcasing canines of every color, shape and class, from AKC-registered pure-breed’s, to household mutts and shelter animals. In spite of its elegant title, the event is egalitarian by nature and is designed to appeal to dogs (and their owners) of every stripe and persuasion. The only pre-requisite is that the dog must be arrayed in finery that does justice to the proud bearing of the animal and the fashion sense of its owner (or couture designer). In order to guarantee that the event carries the requisite degree of “hauteness”, the San Francisco Design Center garners the support of its many interior designers and fabric showrooms who readily contribute lovable dogs, committed designers, enormous resources resulting in unique couture outfits and fashions. That combination makes Haute Dog SF a growing phenomenon in San Francisco dogdom and a true celebration of dogs in a city noteworthy for its addiction to anything doggy.

What inspired you to bring interior design and dogs together?
Not only is the SFDC very dog-centric, but 40% of our showrooms sell exquisite textiles.  To us, this was a perfect match – to have interior designers utilize donated fabrics from our showrooms to create bespoke fashions for their doggies -- and to have proceeds from the fashion show benefit Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Where do the design teams find their inspiration for the canine couture?
Some designers are inspired by the fabric’s manufacturer, for example the Venetian House of Fortuny inspired interior designer Juliana Carlsen to create a Fortuny coat in a warm orange and red toned classic Fortuny pattern with a leash to match (accented in glass beads by Houlés).  Susan Chastain, owner of Susan Lind Chastain custom sewing workshop, was inspired by Downton Abbey and her Cocker Spaniel, Coco, donned a wedding coat made of Casamance fabric.  Then there’s interior designer Lynne Carey who went to her doggie’s Scottish Terrier roots and created a classic Scottish kilt.


When it comes to the runway, any fierce doggy divas we should watch out for?
It’s the little divas that rule the runway!  They are fiercely and bravely competitive!

Wow you raised $40,000 last year, that’s great! Was that mostly from tickets or all together? 
The $40,000 raised in 2013 came from a combination of sources including a silent auction, sponsor contributions and attendee admissions. In order to hit the target, much of the event cost was underwritten by the San Francisco Design Center without whose financial commitment and resource support the event would never have gotten off the ground.

How do you decide who is the beneficiary, and why Muttville this year?
Muttville has been on our radar for some time because it’s a relatively young and highly-committed, grass-roots organization that puts its dollars to the best use, caring for its dogs, with more than 2000 adopted to date. We admire the organization because it reaches out to senior and special needs rescue dogs, finds suitable homes for those that are adoptable, and offers end-of-life care for those that are not. These are not just shelter dogs. Every-day dogs are often moved from loving homes to concrete cages because their guardians have died or moved or simply can’t care for them anymore. The time has arrived for Haute Dog SF to commit itself to Muttville. We welcomed Sherri Franklin, Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, to walk in Haute Dog | SF 2 last year with Miss Jackie – and we’re pleased to report that Miss Jackie was successfully adopted not long after her debut on the runway.

Susan Chastain, owner of Susan Lind Chastain custom sewing workshop, was inspired by Downton Abbey and her Cocker Spaniel, Coco, donned a wedding coat made of Casamance fabric.

What would you tell someone attending Haute Dog SF 3 who falls in love with an adoptable senior dog?
Run, don’t walk, and adopt a senior dog! I rescued a seven-year old Papillion mix and enjoyed 12 incredibly long and loving years with him.  His age gave him wisdom, grace, a sparkling and fun personality – he was well-behaved, house-broken and was yearning for a home full of love – and he gave that love back 24/7.  If someone falls in love with an adoptable senior dog, I would encourage them to begin the most rewarding journey of being a dog owner to a senior dog – dogs have so much life and love to offer – and owners will find happiness beyond their expectations.  Not to mention long walks, snuggles on the sofa, running off leash, visiting dog-friendly restaurants and wineries, and many, many trips to the Carmel beach.

As civic-minded marketing professionals, any advice for San Francisco non-profits in 2014 for reaching the newest influx of city residents effectively?
New arrivals to the city, particularly those representing the tech community possess two attributes that qualify them as targets for any non-profit, affluent backgrounds and the desire to commit to a cause. The weakness, (and hence the opportunity), lies in the inability or reticence of the non-profit community to aggressively reach out to this prospect base and seek its involvement and support in language, literal and symbolic, that translates the need and the cause, and via newly-minted communications channels relevant to affluent, successful , multi-tasking post-Boomers.

Ticket Information

Hosted by local fashion icon and clothier Mr. Wilkes Bashford, Haute Dog SF 3 offers drinks, bites and raffles from Bay Area hospitality sponsors, as well as Posh Pup Lane, a shopping emporium of doggie delights featuring unique pet products, services, specialties and gifts. 

Get Your Tickets on Event Brite:

Standing Room Tickets $35 | Loge Seating TIckets $50 | VIP Tickets $60 

Friday, February 7
5:30 – 8:30 PM

San Francisco Design Center
Galleria Atrium
101 Henry Adams Street
San Francisco,CA 94103

Sponsored by San Francisco magazine, Interiors California the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco, KPIX-TV, KBCW-TV and The Bay’s 103.7

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