Hubert Burda Media

Doggie Style

We meet Instagram's most famous dog, called Jimmy Choo, and hear about the collection he inspired at his namesake brand

DOGGIE STYLE

The blogosphere likes nothing more than cute dogs, apart from maybe the latest handbag to top off that perfect "Outfit Of The Day" post for social media. So it was a stroke of genius for British accessories house Jimmy Choo to bring its famed leather goods and a rather photogenic dog together for its latest capsule collection. The journey began when Brazilian illustrator Rafael Mantesso started taking fun photos of his English Bull Terrier, who is actually called Jimmy Choo, against some backgrounds that the illustrator was drawing in his free time.

These quirky snaps quickly went viral on Instagram and attracted the attention of Jimmy Choo's Creative Director, Sandra Choi, who then approached the illustrator with the idea of working on a collection inspired by his now-famous canine companion. The rest, as they say, is history. Before the doggie accessories (and its matching human range, which includes handbags and pouches) land in stores, we caught up with Mantesso to find out why he named his dog after a shoemaker, and what his dog thinks of the new collection.

How did you start doing these illustrations around your dog, Jimmy Choo?

The first photograph with Jimmy happened as a complete accident though! Following my divorce I found myself in an empty apartment and was trying to fill the space. Jimmy positioned himself in one of my sketches and I just thought it was cute so I took a photograph. Everything developed from there and we have been discovering what else we can do together.

Why did you name your dog Jimmy Choo?

It was my ex-wife's idea. She wasn't very keen on me getting a bull terrier, she thought it would be too big for our apartment but I managed to convince her. The deal was she had to choose his name. At the time she worked as a fashion stylist, she loved shoes and of course, Jimmy Choo, so that's the story of his name. At the time I didn't like it as I wanted a really masculine name like Brutus. The irony is his name is the reason why he is now working with Jimmy Choo!

How did you come to be approached by Jimmy Choo, the brand?

Sandra Choi contacted me saying she loved my work and asked if I would be interested in being commissioned to create a series of illustrations that would feature on Jimmy Choo products featuring Jimmy in different scenarios. She gave me the background on the brand and said she wanted the illustrations to reflect the more playful and fun side of the Jimmy Choo woman, so I thought, let's dream of shoes, have a drink and play some music!

If Jimmy Choo the dog were a shoe, what kind of shoe would he be?

I think he would be a biker boot, strong and tough on the outside but incredibly soft and gentle on the inside.

What does Jimmy Choo the dog think of the new collaboration collection?

He loves it of course! We had so much fun creating these illustrations and I think his favourite would be the sketch where he is dreaming of shoes, it was one of the easiest ones for Jimmy and all he has to do is sleep.

Which are some of your favourite illustrations?

The martini. It's difficult to put Jimmy into that position with that look in his eye and level of attention but we got there in the end – it is classic, simple and fun – it is my favourite of the illustrations.