Dogs Become Fashionable Companions in the Art Deco Period

Ladies of the 1920s adored and pampered the pets that matched their fashion sensibilities.

By Jennifer Grant

Image: Kate Sampson

The sleek and modern designs of Art Deco reached the height of popularity in 1925. Deco is visual style that influenced everything from art to architecture, with its inception in Paris, France at the World Fair, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Deco was completely absorbed with modernity yet it was not entirely Modernist by definition. It was not pre-occupied by engineering and efficiency, like typical Modernist movements, but more so in representing the symbols of modern life in decorative style.

By the time of the arrival of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Deco had given way to a less decorative motif called Streamline Modern, but not before it laid down the framework for a thoroughly modern concept: the pampered pooch.

Image: “Writer With Dogs” by Barbara Barth

The fashion of the time favored an “ideal body type” of long and lean, with the absolute ideal accessory being a complementary long and lean dog. The Greyhound breed became one of the most popular, along with the elegant Borzoi. This Russian dog lent a special aura of exotic beauty to the fashion-conscientious woman who walked beside it. The Tsar of Russia even gifted Queen Alexandra her very own Borzoi.

Image: Chryssoie

But these dogs were more than mere accessories, they were honored and pampered companions. The way women felt about their pooch during this era has pretty much come full circle, and can best be encapsulated by this statement found in¬†Vogue Magazine from the Hon. Mrs. J. Rodney, “Surely no mother can equal the all absorbing interest we feel in our pets.”

And in respect to this societal attitude, pets were welcome everywhere. Ladies brought their dogs shopping, visiting, and even to lunch; leaving them in the capable hands of staff at the coat rooms to have their own pampered feast.

Image: Susan Terciado

Images of these favored canines where also found on all manner of fashion accessories from brooches to pins, pendants, and necklaces. Some women even commissioned one-of-a-kind pieces to honor their very own sleek companion.



Art Deco Vintage dog pendant with diamonds. Image: The Three Graces

Art Deco may be out of fashion, but one important hold over from this era is the beautiful relationship between women and their dogs. Give us a shout out if your favorite canine is a Greyhound or Borzoi!