|Article Author: Scott Rose|
An exclusive collection of luxury dog dresses inspired by those worn by Norma Jean by Scott Rose
Marilyn Monroe's first childhood dog was Tippy, a black-and-white Q.T. whom a neighbor accused of rolling in his garden and so shot to death. Obviously, the only way there could be a peaceful cosmic payback for that insane act of violence was for somebody to design a line of Marilyn Monroe dresses for dogs. Star designer Heather Caraballo has created an ultra-glamorous collection of doggie dresses modeled on those worn to dazzling effect by the great actress. The collection is offered online through Heather's company, The Pink Hotdog (www.thepinkhotdog.com). I interviewed her, and think you will be tickled pink to read about the charming lady.
What is the history of The Pink Hotdog?
In early spring, 2004, I left my job as manager of a mortgage processing company to care for my brother-in-law, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He passed away shortly thereafter. A great animal lover, he had devoted much of his time to promoting animal welfare, including participation in animal charity events. His death left a huge void in my life; to help fill it, I adopted a 4 lb. Chihuahua, Daisy Mae.
Upon adopting Daisy, I began shopping for clothes, beds, blankets, and all kinds of wonderful things, in order to give Daisy the very best that life has to offer. While doing so, I fell in love with the luxury pet market, and my passion for it just keeps growing. I have always had a strong love for animals, and fashion as well, so opening an online dog boutique was the perfect way to combine the two enthusiasms.
Daisy's presence in my life and memories of my brother-in-law's love for animals along with the unconditional support of my husband who is also my business partner inspired me in the founding of The Pink Hotdog. It wasn't just that I wanted to be a part of this industry; it was that I wanted something I could dedicate to my late brother-in-law. With my strong background in business I secured financial backing and set my plans in motion. I did a tremendous amount of research in the beginning to find reputable wholesalers, targeted demographics and, a matter of utmost importance; a name. Pink is my favorite color, and the main one used in my online boutique. Hotdog means "the best." We want to be the Hotdog of canine boutiques and the Hotdog of pink fashions. That's why we're The Pink Hotdog.
Who realizes the designs of the Marilyn Monroe Collection?
I designed our exclusive Marilyn Monroe collection. From the grating of patterns, selection of fabrics, tags, handtags and packing, I designed it all. I hired a seamstress to help cut out the patterns. No expense is spared in selecting the finest materials for these beautiful dresses. I handpick all our fabrics, which include crepe, liquid lame and satins. Every garment is fully lined with highest quality broadcloth. The crepe and gold lame are custom pleated in New York City. Our handtags and woven labels are manufactured in the US and sent together with the fabrics to fashion assembly professionals for completion.
What was the genesis of the Marilyn Monroe Collection?
Now this is a fun question!
I've been a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe since I was a little girl. Every year my grandmother gave me some item of Monroe memorabilia, such as a doll or a plate. To this day, I am an avid collector. When I was 17, I went to a Halloween party dressed as Marilyn Monroe, and made quite the splash; everybody said it looked like Marilyn herself had returned from the beyond. My success at the Halloween party made me decide to go for the next level. I signed with an agent and became one of the country's most sought-after Marilyn Monroe impersonators. Edith Head was a designer who had fashioned apparel for many Hollywood stars including Marilyn. Her assistant recruited me, and I had the "pinch me is this really happening" experience of walking down fashion runways in the same white dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a dress later auctioned off for one million dollars. I actually wore that dress for two cancer charity events in New York City and Florida. I modeled with Stephanie Seymour, which was a thrill!
Anyway, nobody had ever designed Marilyn Monroe doggie dresses. Given my whole background and my undying love for Marilyn, I became a woman with a mission; to pay tribute to the great legend by designing an exclusive line of fine dog attire dedicated to her. I was determined that it should be world-class, and as glamorous as the lady herself. All dresses are exact replicas of the star's actual gowns. The fabrics are the luxurious ones used for Marilyn Monroe's garments; each dress in our Marilyn Monroe line includes a woven label bearing her actual signature. When the samples had been prepared to perfection, I presented the Collection to the Marilyn Monroe Estate and its owner, Anna Strasberg. They were delighted. I had previously been advised that obtaining exclusive rights would be next to impossible, yet they were given to us. I hold this accomplishment very dear to my heart because this was not about money; it was about love love for animals and for Marilyn.
I don't just talk the talk; I walk the walk. During the recent 7th Annual Paws for Style Charity events in New York and California, I modeled with Daisy Mae, both of us dressed as Marilyn Monroe. You can't imagine what delicious fun that was! Please tell me a little bit about the individual dresses in the Collection. The 7 Year Dog dress is inspired by that famous shot over a New York City sidewalk grate, the upwards breeze exposing Marilyn's panties. Her then husband Joe DiMaggio nearly had apoplexy. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes gave the world Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend, a scene replicated by the likes of Madonna and Holly Madison of Playboy. The Pink Hotdog is proud to offer the Diamonds Are a Dog's Best Friend dress, patterned on the one in the movie musical. The Dogs Prefer Blondes dress, too, is from that movie. The Red Premier dress was one Marilyn wore to a famous premier to promote Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Happy Birthday Mr. Fido, of course, was inspired by that wonderful white dress she wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy. Happy Birthday Mr. Fido is a limited edition dress with only 38 fine garments available; each is sold with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. The fabric and the lining are 100% silk, and all the beads are individually hand-sewn, as was the case for Marilyn Monroe's dress. This is a true collector's piece, gorgeous but delicate, more for display and perhaps the occasional glam photo than for everyday wear; as was the original. Sounds like you have her career covered!
We do, right up to the end. The Bowerina dress is from the famous last shot of Marilyn from the unfinished movie Something's Gotta Give.
I notice that you remain heavily involved in animal benefits.
Yes. We as a company are very focused on doing as many charity events as possible. We are planning to get more involved in the fight against puppy mills. Our site's News section, which can be accessed from a link at the bottom of every page, includes updates about our charitable activities.
What's ahead for The Pink Hotdog?
These Marilyn Monroe Collection dresses are our opening tribute, but we are currently designing three more lines. I can reveal the first of them, which will be available around the middle of 2007. It's to be a Marilyn Monroe Sweater line; I'm very excited about it.
On the set of The Misfits, an extra asked the star "Are you Marilyn Monroe?" Marilyn replied "No, I'm Mitzi Gaynor." What are you, dear reader, going to say when somebody asks if your dog is Marilyn?