You’ve heard of Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum. Well, prepare to meet Columbia’s very own Lilly Power. She poses for websites and graces calendars, but there’s one place you’ll never find her: the catwalk.
Lilly is a sought-after canine couture fashion model.
“Lilly’s modeled for retailers like Lil Yorkie Fru Fru and Urban Addition in Los Angeles,” says her loving owner, Kimberly Power. “Lilly is also in the 2012 desk calendar of canine designer company Mochi & Jolie. She’s September!”
Like many supermodels, Lilly’s life had meager beginnings. Then she met Kimberly, who is now the owner of local dog grooming boutique, Carolina Paws.
“Lilly is a dachshund rescue pup. I adopted her from the vet’s office where I used to work. She was about 16 weeks old then, and she was mean. She snapped and bit. One day I discovered if I put her in a dress, she was calm. When I started putting clothes on her she actually became very nice and so sweet,” laughs Kimberly.
Naturally, Lilly’s national exposure comes courtesy of Facebook. Kimberly “liked” fan pages for powerhouse designers and posted photos. “I just started sharing her photos,” she says. “One day, I put up a video I have of her getting dressed. Yes, she actually dresses herself. I put a dress on over her head, then she does all the rest.”
One of the first companies interested in the precocious redhead was Mochi & Jolie, a high-end canine lifestyle products company. “We noticed Lilly on our Mochi & Jolie Facebook page,” says Maggie Yuko, creative director of Mochi & Jolie. “She caught our eye not only because she is beautiful, but unique, too.” Before long, Lilly’s star began to rise.
Another who noticed was Florida-based luxury retailer and pet fashion designer Kelly Owens, owner of KO Couture. “It’s helpful to have a professional dachshund model like Lilly to show clothing is not one size fits all,” says Kelly. “I love using her as a model. Not only is she a beautiful redhead, but Lilly is very photogenic as well. I swear you can see her smile in most of her photos!”
Lilly’s modeling career has given her a wardrobe most women would envy. She has more than 200 designer duds that range from satin evening gowns to bathing suits. “Her very first dress was pink with little white flowers. I got it at Target,” Kimberly says.
Thanks to her modeling career, Lilly has more than 200 designer duds ranging from satin evening gowns to bathing suits.
When asked to name Lilly’s go-to outfit, she laughs. “A favorite? No way. She likes them all. She actually barks at me if I don’t have her dressed by nine! She will not go out unless she’s wearing a dress.”
Sadly, Lilly’s little sister, Sadie, doesn’t share her affinity for fashion. “She can’t stand it. She freezes,” Kimberly says.
Lilly’s rockstar life is not all gourmet biscuits and high-dollar photo shoots. “She has epilepsy and has seizures in her stomach. They are really intense and last a long time. She recently had one that went on for an hour and a half,” says Kimberly. “Lilly knows if one is coming on. She mopes and paces. They used to happen every day but now she’s on two medications that have them down to about once a month.”
Lilly’s troublesome seizures are so scary she doesn’t leave Kimberly’s side … ever.
“One time I went to the store and left Lilly alone. Once. It was just for five minutes, but when I came home she was having one,” she says. “After that I said never again.”
So every day, Lilly serves as the chief greeter at Carolina Paws — only after she’s dressed, of course. The discerning doxie works with Kimberly in the grooming shop greeting customers and giving visitors an opportunity to marvel at a supermodel. “She shows off,” Kimberly admits. “Especially if she has a new dress. There are families who come by the store all the time. They just want to see Lilly. They love to see what she is wearing!”
In between her desk job and modeling gigs, Lilly does what all good celebrities do: community service. “Lilly is also a therapy dog. It’s so cool to watch her. She really puts smiles on people’s faces,” says Kimberly.
Thankfully, most of Lilly’s wardrobe comes from photo shoots and designer samples. “I don’t spend this much money on dog clothes. I sure don’t have designer clothes, but my dog does,” Kimberly laughs.
Lilly loves her dresses and modeling. Kimberly says when the dress goes on, she poses for anyone who will look. “I swear she’s not a dog. She picks her outfits, dresses herself and wears pearls,” she says.
A dog who’d rather go to a ball than play with one – that’s little Lilly Power.
Photos Courtesy of Kimberly Power