Margot and Colette are Basset Hounds. They are sisters who share adventures around the world, but where Margot is a voracious reader who digs art, Colette prefers flicking through the pages of Dogue and dancing to hip beats, her big tail wagging...
This year, during the weeks of isolation, we went through our attic and decided it would be a good time to share our travel stories. At first Margot and Colette hesitated, but when I promised to play ball and let them have a go at putting my boys' tales together as well, they agreed. But first, here are some epic journeys from Margot and Colette, my gorgeous Basset Hound sisters. Starting in Egypt... and now Paris!
Next time we'll be joined by a Medical Detection Dog in the West Indies.... You can learn about what they do and find out how we'll help fundraise for these exceptional fellow dogs by going to"Scraps and Treats" on this site.
- Pickle, The Jack Russell
Adventure in Paris
It’s the best possible day for Colette. She’s been offered an internship as a junior reporter at Dogue the famous fashion magazine and - Ooh la la! - her first assignment is sniffing out diary stories from the Paris autumn season show.
She rings Margot to tell her the news.
Colette wants Margot to come with her as she knows Paris well from her university days at the Sorebone.
“Margot, please come. It will be such fun. We can go to all the parties together”. Margot, who thinks fashion rather superficial, seems less than enthusiastic.
“VIP. Very Important Pooch. Invite for one dog only? Colette, I wouldn’t be able to get into the parties, anyway.”
“But, Margot, you speak French so well. I’m sure they’ll drool to have you everywhere”.
Margot says she’ll think about it, especially as this is clearly very important to Colette. A few moments later she rings Colette back and agrees to tag along.
Colette is so excited. She scampers off to buy a very expensive and glamorous new Pucci outfit to wear to the preview of the Dogge Banana show. Margot decides to go with her staple BCBG look (Bon Chien Bon Gout) complete with a Canis-silk scarf.
The Bassets arrive in Paris by The Dog Star express. Margot has been reading an existential novel. Colette has been nosing through the latest fashion mags. Famished, they head for a bite following their noses to a neighbourhood café Margot knows in the 7th arrondissement. After lunch, the girls pick up a few pastries at a nearby boulangerie, just in case. Colette is almost tempted to try a small organic seaweed and salmon wrap as pecked at fashionably by Parisian Whippet models, but plumps for a dozen tartes du jour instead.
They arrive at the Grand Palais in time for the Autumn Preview.
Colette is so excited to be standing in the queue and feeling herself to be a Very Important Pooch.
Margot, meanwhile, has been rehearsing her best story to convince the door-dog, in fluent French, to let her into the show. She’s pretending to be Colette’s assistant and must accompany her mistress at all times.
The door-dog, a Beauceron dressed in a glossy black coat, shrugs his shoulders. Non! Strictly by invitation. One dog only.
“I’m sorry, Margot”, says Colette turning on her tail. “Let’s leave.”
“Colette, don’t worry”, says Margot. “You go”. You have a Very Important Pooch pass with access all areas. You shouldn’t waste it.”
But Colette isn’t having it. She insists that if Margot isn’t to be allowed in, she’ll give the whole thing a miss. Together the Bassets stroll along the riverbank. Margot opens her handbag, takes out a few éclairs, some pain au chocolat and the tartes du jour and the two scoff their way to Hotel Les Oiseaux de Ville.
The next morning, Colette has a brilliant idea. It’s the day of the Commes Les Chiens show. She really wants to go and this time is determined to get Margot in, too.
“All the press are given VIP passes today. We just need to turn you into a journalist.”
“But how?” wonders Margot.
“Well, you can be a fashion blogger”, says Colette, tail held high and proud of having coming up with such a cunning plan.
“A blogger?” asks Margot feeling more hopeful than she sounds.
“Yes. I’ll text Felicity, the Weimaraner who looks after social media at Dogue. I’m sure she’ll give you your very own blog from Paris Fashion Week. After all, you have several degrees, and speak and bark French really well. I can even tell her about the challenging Left Bank novel you’re working on, Les Deux Margots. It will be so easy for you.
Colette texts Felicity who replies
“Colette, you are a superstar. I had forgotten all about a blog from Paris. Been too busy Barking online. Definitely on for your sister taking care of fashion week blog. File soonest. XXXXX Felicity.”
Colette is thrilled. The only slight problem is that, although she hasn’t liked to say it, Margot doesn’t really look like a blogger.
Being very sharp, Margot knows this, too.
“Colette, thanks so much. I’m actually really looking forward to blogging, but I must change my look to fit in with the media crowd”.
“I have the perfect outfit in mind for you”, says Colette, “and we can pick up some off-the-wall accessories from the flea-market. Fashion bloggers go for a self-conscious eccentric image.”
“Suits me fine”, thinks Margot who at heart is a very arty girl.
The Pups look très chic as they arrive at the fashion show. They parade along the red carpet, enjoy several trays of canapés and watch the models strutting. It’s buzzing.
“This is marvellous”, enthuses Colette to anyone and everyone. Margot takes lots of notes for her blog. At the end of the show, there is a standing ovation with vigorous tail wagging. Colette wants to go to the after show party but Margot reminds her of her Dogue deadline. They decide to go back to their room, work on their stories and then join the party later in the evening. By 11pm, they have filed their copy.
Paris is buzzing. It’s electric. Everyone is here. Bulldog Broadcasting Corporation. The Newfoundland Times. Pack Magazine. Hound and Horse. Dogzeen. Walk-the-Talk are the media partners and have invited Dogue to front-row baskets at the pre-preview of the fashion calendar’s must see: Commes Les Chiens.
So here I am sitting between fashion designer to the great and the good, Moomoo, a ravishing Cocker Spaniel, and photographer to the stars Guimbo the French Bulldog. Moomoo is wearing her signature multi-coloured scarf and tells me all about her new day basket range made from all natural and recyclable materials and in the most radiant colours. The bold pinks, head-turning oranges and turquoises contrast with to-die for lemon yellows and lime greens. I confess, I’m drooling.
Guimbo has been to photograph Moomoo’s latest creations but as usual, says very little. Dressed in all black except for a deep navy blue beret artfully angled on his head, Guimbo is more the serious artist type. The less said the better he thinks but I can see that he’s enjoying the hype around us and like me is visibly moved when the stage lights up and the grande old dame of fashion, Coco the Shar-Pei, arrives.
Fashionably wrinkled and as svelte, golden and groomed as ever, Coco greets everyone with a flash of her signature smile, canines glowing. You can feel knees melting in the room. Then a moment of a silence and a beautiful rainbow glows over the dogwalk as a pack of Akitas emerges on stage in geometric raincoats with compositions that look like the twentieth century artist Piet Mondrian paintings-gone-monochrome.
A mist of artificial rain follows and I can see a few ladies trying to ensure their eye make up isn’t running. The Akitas strike a pose and the music begins with the French hit “Et moi, et toi”. “Super Cool” shrieks everyone as the Akitas move in slow motion opening their umbrellas one by one to create a beautiful rainbow of colours on stage. Straight out of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, the all-time classic French movie.
Then to everyone’s surprise, silver Greyhound, Johnny Argent from “Et Moi, et toi” waltzes in pecking each Akita model on the cheek and encouraging Coco back on stage. Guimbo is lying on his stomach get the best possible picture. (And he succeeds as it makes the cover of Paris Splash) The rainwear designer, a shy and unassuming young fellow from Japan emerges too, but to everyone’s surprise he’s been sitting with the audience. He makes his way on stage and apologies profusely to Guimbo as he steps on him to greet Coco and Johnny. A quiet, self-effacing Shiba Inu from the mountains, he introduces himself, “Hello I am Yoshimoto-San. It is a deep honour to be here. I always sit with the audience to get a feeling for how the collection is received and I am very moved by the support. I couldn’t have done it without my very talented and hard working team at Hello Doggie. Please give them a paw.” And everyone claps. Yoshimoto-san bows looking a bit embarrassed by all the attention.
And that’s the end of my first-look at Paris Fashion Week. I’ll be blogging next on Pablo Herrero. Rumours here tell me that we’re in for a post-modern Flamenco feel . . . Hasta la Vista!
Felicity texts Colette at 11.30.
“MARGOT IS SENSATIONAL. I LOVE HER HISTORIC FASHION REFERENCES. TELL HER WE ALL THINK HER COPY IS TOO, TOO DIVINE. AM GOING TO BARK IT NOW. Fx”
Colette feels very pleased for Margot although she wonders why Felicity has said nothing about her own Highlights from the Dog Walk piece. Perhaps Felicity hasn’t had time to read it yet. Never mind, it’s time to party at Folie les Bains.
The Bassets get back to the hotel very late. Margot is exhausted. Colette is already looking forward to day three of the show as it’s the special dog walk at the Beaubourg museum. This, however, means an early start as the only way the Fashion Week organisers have been allowed to stage the event here is if it takes place before the museum opens to the public.
Colette feels bad about all the pastries she’s eaten and decides to go for a long run very first thing and then to get ready for the show. She’s planned her wardrobe for the entire week so knows exactly what to wear. Her fashion-meets-art-world outfit. All red with bold jewellery. When Colette gets back to the hotel, Margot is still fast asleep.
“Margot, we need to go to Beauborg, it’s almost 8:30AM!” barks Colette.
“Oh no!” cries Margot. With only fifteen minutes to get ready all she can do is to pull on a pair of frayed and faded jeans and a white T-shirt.
The two young ladies lollop out of the hotel and across the city centre. Margot has left in such a hurry that she has forgotten her blogger’s press pass. She only realises this as the doordog, a Boxer, greets her. To her great surprise, he ushers her in while Colette is made to show her pass. In her simple jeans and T-shirt outfit, everyone thinks Margot must be a terribly successful fashion designer. Margot feels she has arrived. Even the President of Fashion Week comes to say “Bonjour”. After the excitement of the morning show, the sisters decide to go back to their hotel for some lunch.
“Mademoiselle, there is a message for you at the front desk”, says the hotel doorman as they step in through the grand entrance.
Dogue’s editor, a petite French bulldog called Estelle, has rung personally to tell Colette how pleased she is with her copy as well, of course, as she is with Margot’s blog. She has sent a Pug-ot limousine to take Margot and Colette to one of Paris’ best restaurants.
The Pups arrives in great style at Maison Blanche. The all white minimalist interior by the famous designer Pawson makes a great impression on them. Making the sisters feel at home, the maître d‘, a Grand Basset Griffon Vendéens, talks them through the menu.
Les Coquilles Saint-Jacques, héliantis et truffe noire
Le Homard entier á partager á deux
Le Poulpe grillé a la plancha
Côtelettes d’agneau sauce chimichurri
Gyozas boeuf wagu, foie gras, gingembre
Les Figures Bonions
“We’ll have everything”, says Colette. The sisters wolf down their lunch, agreeing that the portions could be a little more generous.
Nonetheless, the two feel rewarded for their efforts. On top of the world, they’re ready to embrace the rest of fashion week and to tell their wagging tales on Barker. And, lo and behold, Barker sends an alert to Colette’s smart phone, “. . . Congratulations . . . You have just hit a million and one followers.”
Margot is over the moon seeing her sister shine, but immediately thinks how such influence could be put to good use. Let’s order two puddings each to celebrate, says Colette, and let’s give MooMoo’s divine day baskets a plug. Guimbo’s taken some fabulous shots for Dog House magazine. Margot smiles and agrees with her sister.
Back in the hotel room, Colette stays up late editing her instant Dogstagram story, while Margot returns to the manuscript of her timeless masterpiece Les Deux Margots.
©️ Laura Glancey
Copyright for all of the story words - both written and spoken - and all images on this website belongs to Laura Glancey
Sound Credits for Podcast:
Train - Satish Madiwale
Doberman Barking - Daniel Simion
Party Crowd - Daniel Simion
Applause - Yannick Lemieux
Tires squealing - Mike Koening
Glancey family including dogs