Light up the runway — it’s time for Boutiques Unleashed

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Each year in Portland the first blooms of daffodils and tulips bring a sense of promise, and a sigh of relief as the gray days of winter give way to the vivid hues and bright sunshine of spring. The stage is set for Portland’s burgeoning pet event season, now getting underway.

Northwest people are famous for keeping their pets in the middle of the mix of life, whether shopping in a favorite district, enjoying lunch at a street-side table or heading out for a hike at the park. Around here, if you look closely, you’ll usually find a pet in the picture. (Sometimes you have to look really closely — little ones are often found poking tiny noses out of fashionable shoulder bags.)

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Speaking of fashion . . . and springtime . . . and pets. In the event lineup is a perennial favorite that combines these ingredients for a delectable evening: DoveLewis’s Boutiques Unleashed — Fashion for Both Ends of the Leash. One of DoveLewis’s biggest annual galas, this fun, funky evening is a great night out for pet lovers who crave a little taste of haute couture with plenty of fun on the side.

The folks at Dove invite you to “Come see the hippest animals and humans around on the runway at Portland’s premier fashion event!”

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While fun and sometimes hilarious, the evening really does provide a great way to check out great apparel lines from top boutiques — and plenty of them. This year’s participating design houses, or boutiques, include: All for PawsBentley BBlack WagonD'TailsFinn Mens’ ClothingGarnish ApparelHip HoundIdomKlees DesignsLexiDog Boutique & Social ClubLizard LoungeMabel & ZoraMercantileMeringue BoutiquePhloxPhysical ElementPin-Me ApparelPolliwogSalty’s Dog and Cat ShopSay Say Boutique and Top of the Food Chain.

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In addition to the eye candy on the runway — which includes both the ensembles and the models themselves — guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, silent and live auctions, emcees Kimberly Maus and Wayne Garcia of Fox 12 Oregon, and of course of the company of some of Portland’s most stylin’–est animals and people.

A small detail each year that provides more than a little fun is the “mystery model,” whose identity is revealed only on show night. Stunning and unique, past mystery models have included Gracie the goat, resplendent in bridal attire, and Roja the llama in a festive frock.

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The folks at Dove say all of this year’s models have been chosen to represent Portland’s unique flair for fun, personality, and dedication to community, saying, “We’re sure you’ll recognize a few!

Boutique Unleashed hits the runway Friday, Apr. 9, at the Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison in Portland. Doors open at 6, the fashion show gets underway at 8. All proceeds benefit the DoveLewis Pet Loss Support Program. For reservations, visit BoutiquesUnleashed.com, or call 971-255-5938.