Latest Stories

The red carpet–and William/Kate—inspire this ex-banker

Fancy some formals for your four-footed friend? Bernie Alfonso Leytte gets orders from all over the country and Asia


TACO in one-piece maroon tuxedo

KISSES in orange summer dress made of Thai silk PHOTOS: ARNOLD ALMACEN

It wasn’t Taco’s first time to dress up—like, really dress up. The five-year-old male chihuahua has worn formal wear before. On this overcast afternoon, Taco looked very dapper and sharp in his maroon tuxedo. And he smiled for the camera, too.

Like a real gentleman in  tux, Taco was calm and quiet, oblivious to the circus around him. And what a circus it was—of dogs in different shapes, sizes and temperaments, all suited up and barking.

As the photographer snapped photos of Black I, the Parsons Jack Russell dressed in a  layered number made of organza, chiffon and Chinese shantung, a groomer was styling the long coat of Kisses, a Schnauzer propped on a table.

Meantime, Taco sat quietly on his chair, appearing attentive to what pet couture designer Bernie Alfonso Leytte was saying.

“Some people come up to me and say I’m humanizing the pets. I don’t look at it that way. I see this as pampering the pets. It’s not like they wear gowns or dresses every day,” Leytte said.

BERNIE Leytte with the dolled-up pooches

PARSON Russell Black I in green layered China silk shantung with flower design inspired by brooch

A former bank senior manager, the young Leytte started designing pet clothes as a hobby six years ago by recycling some of her old ones and deconstructing them to fit her pet pooch. An old bonnet, for instance, was transformed into her dog’s sweater when she put holes in it to fit the head and the legs.

Leytte knows dressmaking—for people. She grew up observing her grandmother, who loved clothes and created dresses, and was used to the sight of two or three sewing machines in the house.

When she started making clothes for pets, it all came back to her naturally. Soon, she was dressing up her friends’ pets, until one day, another friend decided to take it a step further by requesting a specially made gown—for a fee, of course.

“It was also about the same time my mother-in-law decided to set up a pet shop in Tiendesitas. Not wanting to pass up an entrepreneurial opportunity, I decided to sell some of my creations in her shop,” she said.

CLAIRE the miniature Schnauzer is wearing a flamenco-inspired number in satin with a 50-inch train

KIWI the poodle likes to show off that he can walk on his hind legs.

Today, Leytte is one of about only three pet couture designers in the country. Her label, Doodles Pet Couture, also has a line of RTW, and its Facebook fan page already has close to 6,000 fans. She gets orders from the Visayas and Mindanao, and even from neighboring Asian countries.

Long gown with pearls

It usually takes anywhere from one day to two to three weeks to make a gown. One gown that took her a month to finish was a special request from a customer abroad. It was for a wedding, and the long gown had pearls, with other materials and fabrics sent from abroad.

She said designing clothes for pets can be tricky, especially for males. They need to have their body length, legs and girth measured. Since she gets many orders from out of town, Leytte makes sure her clients get the measurements right by watching them measure their pets in real time over FaceTime.

Females need only have their neck and chest measured. She designs the gown according to what inspires her.

CHIHUAHUAS Garlic, Syrup and Tomato in blue organza gowns embellished with rhinestones

“My creativity and fashion sense are based on what I want. I pick up designs by watching fashion trends abroad, by watching the red carpet. I don’t look at dog gowns,” Leytte said.

The headdresses are inspired by those she saw during the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate.

Leytte chooses fabrics and designs clothes with the pet’s comfort in mind. She has turned down offers to do gowns using heavy fabrics or outrageous designs.

PIZZA the pug donning an RTW of full-sequined disco party dress

BOSTON terrier Bella looks fetching in this RTW dress

Last Halloween, for example, some people wanted their toy breeds to drag around big coffins as part of the costume. Leytte politely said no.

Do not make the mistake, too, of showing magazine cutouts of pet gowns. “I don’t copy designs. I make my own designs. We can sit down and discuss what you want, but don’t ask me to make copies.”

Mobile (0922) 8158864,  e-mail doodlespawcouture@yahoo.com. Doodles Pet Couture’s RTW line  available online at Facebook fan page.

All dogs courtesy of Domino Haus Kennel.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Alfonso Leytte , Dogs , Lifestyle , Pet Couturier , Pets

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Smooth Edsa ride up in 2 years, but…
  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained