Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Interview With Lola's Boutique

While perusing the plethera of online doggie boutiques for some cold weather wear for my dogs, I came across Lola's Boutique. The first thing that came to my mind was WOW. These aren't your run-of-the-mill, one-size-fits-all dog clothes or your kid's old onesie, or yes, as I have done, a sock (yes, that's right, I said it--a sock) with holes cut into it for doggie legs(I can hear the collective gasps now). I know, I know, the shame. No, this my friends, is canine couture.

The first thing that caught my eye (other than the simply fabulous style and fit of these garments) was the fact that their models are Xolos. Xolos are difficult enough to come across, but dog apparel of this caliber is--in my opinion--even harder. Lola, Charo and Consuelo all live in Montreal with their human Ralf, who was kind enough to consent to this interview.

How/when did you learn about Xolos?

When studying Veterinary Medicine, over 20 years ago, I went to a dog breed exhibition to learn more about breeds. They had a couple of standard Xolos. Their eyes spoke to me. I did about as much research as I could back then but there was very little info to be found and even less Xolos! I never really pursued it further, accepting them almost as a myth more than a reality. I had mentioned how cool I thought they were to an exchange student from Mexico and left it at that. Many years later he tracked me down because he had found Lola, who was in need of a home. The rest is history...

Tell us a little about each of your Xolos.

Lola is the matriarch, extremely intelligent and extremely loving, which makes her a worry wort. Always concerned about where every one is, always alert. She is from authentic old Mexican stock and very cobby...looks exactly like the colima pottery dogs. Charo is my litle goofball, all she wants to do is play, then play and maybe play some more. She is goofy, clumsy, a gluton and a thief. She is also cuddly, gentle, attentive and the worlds best hugger. She even sleeps hugging her toys. Consuelo is, I must admit, Daddy's spoiled little girl. She is very protective of me, jealous, very regal, snobby, a ham in front of a camera, very girly and a velcro dog. If she was human she would be Linda Evangelista or Naomi Campbell!

When did you open Lola’s Boutique?

2002. Necessity became a business idea. Because of Lola's nakedness and odd shape, I could not find anything stylish or even that would fit properly. The stuff you find in stores is more often than not ill fitting, made in cheap, yucky feeling fabrics and embarrassing or uncomfortable for the dog. Most pet clothes are more to amuse the owner than to fill the dogs needs. Mine are not. I vowed when I started Lola's that I would never make something for a pooch that I would not put on my child. I will not make a dress for a Lab or a Tutu for a Jack Russell just as I will not make a coat for a Saint Bernard or put hats on dogs. They just hate it with a passion!

What was your vision for the boutique when you began? Would you say you’ve achieved it?

I wanted to provide a service for people whose pets are truly a family member; that would make available what I could not find out there. I also wanted to create fun, beautiful garments that were for the pet more than for the owner, and that served a true purpose. Warmth for little or hairless dogs, comfortable style for "purse dogs", fitting clothes for barrel-chested Pugs, skinny deep chested sight hounds, short-legged long-bodied Bassets, special garments for dogs with special needs such as alopecia, handicaps, amputations, etc. I'm very proud of my work.

Do you have a storefront or are you online only?

My boutique at the moment is strictly virtual. Several boutiques carried my stuff in Toronto but that was not something I enjoyed. I prefer the custom approach. I will have a boutique/no kill shelter/daycare at some point. It's the plan...

Are your designs available anywhere else?


*Where are you located?


Are all the outfits from Lola’s made-to-order?

Absolutely, I custom design and make to measure each outfit for the individual doggie.

Do you take requests/special orders?

If it is respectful and comfortable for the pooch, imagination is the limit. As most artists, I work better and have better results when I'm am allowed to be creative.

What is your most popular outfit/accessory?

The Roll-up bodysuit. I got a patent for it.

Are your designs conceived by you or do you have a design team?

Just me for now. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and control freak. In the very busy seasons I might have to consider getting help to sew.

What is the most unusual or challenging request you’ve ever received with regard to canine couture?

I would not say it was challenging but I once went above and beyond what the client had requested for my personal pleasure! A young bride-to-be from Vancouver, BC sent me swatches of the fabrics her Bride's Maid dress were going to be made in and a picture of the dress, a pink princess gown. She had requested some kind of an ornament to put around her Shih-Tzu's neck, because she wanted the dog present at the wedding. Much to her surprise, I actually made the same dress for her doggie. I was glad it would be a treasured memory of that day and she will cherish it even more once the doggie passes.

What sets Lola’s Boutique apart from the crowd?

It's a project of love more than a business. A service provided by a true dog lover for other true dog lovers.

Consuelo (main photo top center), Charo (yellow), Lola (brown)

Photos copyright Lola's Boutique & Used With Permission

1 Comment:

  1. Anonymous said...
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