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Photos and text by Walter Grio.

The 2012 Fashion for Paws (F4P) Runway Show was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. This well-attended fashion show (1,700 people) is regularly one of the highlights of the social calendar in the nation’s capital. Through various sponsorships, corporate donations, and the models raising a minimum of $5,000 to walk on the runway, this year, the F4P Runway Show raised over $700,000 for the Washington Humane Society.

From a fashion show perspective, here are our thoughts:

* Raising over $700,000 for WHS. Bottom line, that’s what this is all about.
* The fashion – the clothes were fun, they fit, and the models looked great. The men, in particular, even had a sartorial feel to them. The clothes were provided by Tysons Galleria including Elie Tahari, Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson, Vineyard Vines, and even doggie couture by Wagtime LLC.
* The hair and makeup complemented the models and the clothes very well.
* The tempo of the show was much improved. Considering that there were over 60 models walking on the runway, it helped that the tempo was quicker, the runway was shorter, and the models did not have to do a U-turn to walk backstage. The models walked directly off the stage at the end of the runway. Brilliant.

* The runway had railings that made it difficult to get a good photo. And the fact that the models are actually walking their dogs, the railings didn’t make any sense. The National Building Museum has a water fountain in the middle, which is probably why they did this, but next time, they should consider covering it completely with either a round cover or a wider runway. The models could pose in the middle and everyone can see them from all sides. The railings were horrible. They obstructed most of the views – not just from the press area, but also from the tables.
* LIGHTING, LIGHTING, LIGHTING. Fortunately, they removed the trees that caused awful shadows on the models last year. But this year, there were no lights directly pointed at the models from the front. Even worse, the lights constantly moved and never stayed long enough on the model to get a consistent shot. A photographer should not have to change their settings as models are walking down the runway. There should be lights at the end of the runway pointed at the models (and not just to the side). If this is a problem for the pets, then the lights should be more focused on the model (or always following the model) – especially at the end of the runway when they are posing.
* Remove the steps on the runway. Keep it flat so that models (and dogs) don’t have to worry about missing the step and they can keep their eyes forward.
* The decorations were too colorful and very distracting.

It is incredibly impressive that F4P raised over $700,000 for the Washington Humane Society, making it a grand total of almost $3 million in the past 6 years. It’s undeniable and other nonprofit organizations should find out how F4P continues to raise that bar every year.

But from a fashion show perspective, it could be better. The lights and the runway are two of the most important aspects and the audience needs a clear view on the fashion, the models, and of course, the pets.

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