Dogs on the Catwalk: Designer Costumes Put Halloween ‘Howl’ for Pets

Gatsby Perkins dresses Steampunk. Photo / Toon Perkins

Editor’s Note: After too long a break, we welcome columnist Margo Ann Sullivan, who shares the world of pets with us through the eyes – and voice – of The Gabby Dog.



“Listen to this,” Gabby said. “Gatsby Perkins, the little French Bulldog known to Jazz Festival audiences as Mr. Newport, will appear in a Halloween photoshoot with fashion designer Carla Panaggio Souza on Friday.”

“Where did you see this? said Asia, the immortal tabby. Gabby pointed the mouse at her mother’s Facebook page,

“It would be so nice to see Gatsby and Judge again,” Gabby said.

Asia sighed. The last six months of the pandemic had torn the starch from little Peke-a-poo’s fur.

“I’m going to write a column about his costumes,” Gabby said. “It is exquisite.”

“OK, but think about your theme: Halloween 2020? Don’t you think that’s too much surrealism, given everyone’s delicate condition? Asia asked as he squatted on the windowsill and studied his sister.

“Not at all,” Gabby said. “This is how I see the column. I love fashion. I love the costumes, and absolutely adore Gatsby Perkins and little brother Judge. So, this is not a column on more frightening things. Think of it as a column on all of my favorites.

Asia twirled her mustache. He remembered Gatsby Perkins’ vampire costume from last year.

“Inspired by Tim Burton. I cannot be outdone. Asia said. He better start collecting the basics – masks for Gabby and the whole team, plus a measuring tape for social distancing. The cats’ whiskers worked perfectly to measure six feet apart, but her sister was not endowed enough. Her antenna prevented collisions in the furniture, but she needed a ruler and the cat’s advice to measure the distance.

“I don’t know why the good Lord wasted mustaches on dogs,” he growled.

Gatsby Perkins, left, and his brother Atticus dress up as vampires in costumes designed by Carla Panaggio Souza for a photoshoot in Newport, RI Photo / Toon Perkins

“Sit back, big guy,” Gabby told Asia. This mission landed directly in your wheelhouse. We’re going to hit this cute little graveyard across the street for the photoshoot. “

Asia knew the place, favorite since the first time Gatsby Perkins and fashion designer Carla Panaggio Souza put the place on the map.

“Spooky,” he said. “OK, I’m in the mood.”

“Wait,” Gabby said. “Do I have to wear a suit?”

“No need,” Asia said. “We get into the spirit; we do not go into the act. Good thing too, because while Gabby still looks cute, she would need a few special duds if she was to be seen with Gatsby. Her designer costumes start at $ 200. This is the territory of stimulus control, figured Asia.

“But it’s definitely worth it,” Gabby said.

Judge, left, and Gatsby. Photo / Toon Perkins

It turns out that Carla and Gatsby’s best friend Toon Perkins have dabbled in pet costumes since they were kids.

“Since I was five,” said Perkins, “I would dress my dog ​​and use my doll stroller to walk him. So, this is something that comes naturally.

Carla started at age six making clothes for her stuffed animals. When her older sisters sewed and made dresses from Silhouette patterns. she collected the remains and reused the fabric. At the University of the University of Rhode Island, she turned to the Fashion, Merchandising, Textile and Design program. In between, she joined a girl group and did stage outfits. His company, Panaggio Drawings, in Middletown, RI, does all kinds of fashion, but currently she mostly fills orders for competition bikinis and athletic wear.

Not to mention the French bulldog collection, the haute couture dog line inspired by Gatsby Perkins.

Carla met Gatsby during her husband’s personal training classes. The Gatsby people are customers and they brought the dog with them. Carla fell in love. She calls Gatsby the muse of her doggy fashions.

As for the Halloween connection, Perkins said, it started a few years ago when a neighborhood pet store hosted a pet parade, a tailor-made event for Atticus, Gatsby’s brother.

“We dressed him up as a skunk by painting his entire body black and white,” Perkins said. “And since then, we’ve been dressing our dogs.” Atticus waits at the Rainbow Bridge, but Gatsby and a new brother, Judge, carry on the tradition.

She’s having fun for pets because dogs like to go places.


Below, the Halloween parade. Photos by Toon Perkins

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“Our boys Gatsby and Judge love to go to different places so I think having them in different scenes and places that go with the outfits is cool. This year, Carla made a Mad Max theme, and we took them to the beach dunes. (The costumes are on display at press time, but the big reveal comes after the holidays.)

“Gatsby was born to be a show dog, so he knows how to pose,” Perkins said. According to Carla, he will also strike a pose. One day, after taking some pictures, she and Perkins started chatting. They watched and saw Gatsby still in character.

“And his personality reminds me of the ‘Great Gatsby’,” Perkins said. “I think people like to dress up their pets. They are our kids first and foremost, after all, and Halloween is a party for the kids. “She has a favorite costume.

“My favorite is the Dracula costume and the new one we’re making for Halloween. But my favorite of all the costumes, is the first one Carla made for Gatsby and it was the Steampunk costume.

Steampunk is Victorian and gadgets, Carla explained. She started the project by draping white fabric over Gatsby, she said, describing the result as a slope pattern.

Of course, some dogs may not stay still during a session.

No problem for Mr. Newport.

“Gatsby is so professional,” she laughs.


More information on the Gabby Dog Archives here.


Margo Ann Sullivan is a pet columnist who wrote for ZooToo, and numerous publications in New York and New England. She has had animals her entire life, starting with a rescue collie named Lollypop. The Gabby Dog Column pursues news that helps pets and people. It also chronicles the adventures of Gabby, the peke-a-poo, and Asia, the tabby, and their many friends, reaching the heights between Providence, RI and Manchester, NH.



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Jessica Zavala

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