March 14, 2002 12:57 PM

Straining against shimmering leashes and decked out in designer capes and coats, a parade of four-footed fashionistas stole the spotlight from their celebrity owners at Tuesday night’s “Paws for Style” fashion show, reports PEOPLE. The event is the third annual show held by Animal Fair magazine as a benefit for the Humane Society of New York. Famous designers, including Ralph Lauren, Oleg Cassini, Vera Wang, Todd Oldham, Kate Spade, Bill Blass, and Cynthia Rowley, created custom outfits for the dogs and their celebrity owners to wear as they strutted down the (ahem) catwalk. Lil’ Kim, in a bright yellow cheerleading jacket and Dior accessories, was accompanied by her three dogs: Mama, a Pekinese, Princess, a Maltese, and Diamond, a Yorkshire terrier. “Mama and I are the same,” said Kim. “She likes to be dressed up.” Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Audrey Quock carried Boo Boo, a bruiser of a French bulldog sporting a gold collar that complemented Quock’s long fringe ensemble. Foxy, singer Willa Ford’s Pomeranian, posed in a casual red and blue turtleneck. “I told her not to be nervous, to picture everybody just in their fur,” said Ford, who wore Ralph Lauren. Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol are fervent animal rescue supporters, but said they can’t have a dog because of Thomas’s constant touring with Matchbox 20. The importance of animals was nowhere more in evidence than the introduction of Bear, the first search-and-rescue dog to arrive at the site of the fallen World Trade Center. Bear’s trainer, Capt. Scott Shields, thanked the Humane Society. “They were there for us from day one. Bear started searching for survivors with only a handful of men. But a thousand men were following him by the end of the afternoon.”

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