At first I resisted: Archie is incredibly spoiled (a consequence of not having children, as any second rate shrink would deduce, I'm sure). To buy him a new toy would simply add to the zillions he already has in his over-stuffed toy box, of which he really only plays with two. That would be like throwing cash on a campfire, which I adamantly oppose.
It was therefore with reluctance that I joined Monsieur at the Concierge's desk at The Beverly Hills Hotel, just as he was being given the pet shop's address which would need entering in the rental car's GPS.
"There are other good ones in town," came the Concierge's parting whisper "but this one's the best. It's where the stars go."
So off we went, dog-lovers and star-fuckers combined, following the Hertz 'Neverlost' route to Fifi & Romeo. We managed to overshoot our destination, but a brief argument and a stealthy u-turn got us back on track and a plum parking spot just across the street from the shop. We jumped out of the car and made a beeline for Fifi & Romeo's entrance, where Lenny Kravitz was smoking a crafty fag in the sun.
Okay, it wasn't really Lenny Kravitz. The guy at the door was even more gorgeous than Lenny Kravitz. And very welcoming. "Come in, come in!" he beamed, before adding "You don't come from around here, do you?". Hmmm. This was before Monsieur had uttered a single heavily French-accented word. Yes, it was afternoon and I was in a little black dress while most of LA seemed to be wearing whatever they'd woken up in, but was good grooming really such a give away? Perhaps we'd forgotten to remove the yellow tag from the rear-view mirror of our convertible SLK? I looked back at the car to check, but no - it was exactly like every car in the neighbourhood; a shiny black Mercedes, with no tell-tale rental markings that I could discern.
"It's the way you parked and walked straight across the street." he said, addressing our wonder with a warm chuckle. "That's jaywalking. You can't do that here. Only foreigners do that."
And with that eye-opening lesson behind us (who knew that California had tougher laws on pedestrians than pot-smokers and gun-owners?) we were introduced to the shop's two canines in residence, Lupita and the other one. I feel terrible for forgetting the other one's name, but when we were introduced to Lupita, who we misheard as Pepita, our minds turned to mush. Things descended into a big doggie love-fest between Monsieur, me, Lupita and the other one, and before we knew it, more-gorgeous-than-Lenny and Fifi & Romeo's fabulous founder, Yana, had us on the sofa for a photoshoot.
As it turned out, Yana is an acclaimed Hollywood costume designer who has turned her gifted hand to creating sassy ensembles for California's chicest chiens. Her shop is brimming with amazing outfits for four-legged fashionistas, in every style from Chanel demure to Betsy Johnston on acid.
|Yana holding Lupita; Pepita holding the other one.|
Alas, Archie LeWoof is a die-hard nudest (to the point that he will pull the clothes off of dressed dogs; a fact I didn't care to share with Yana at the time) so one of Yana's fantastic outfits wasn't going to make it back in our suitcase, as tempting as they were and as much I would have liked to squeeze into one myself. That's when we spied Fifi & Romeo's toy collection, and before my mind's eye had a chance to picture my wallet sizzling on a pyre, I saw it: The perfect addition to Archie's toy box which, at the very least, would serve as my souvenir of this zany tail from LA.
Style File Followers Take Note:
1. I oppose throwing cash on a camp-fire primarily because I'd prefer to spend it on new clothes.
2. Neverlost? Oh please. Not if the arrow is the size of a city block, Mr. Hertz.
3. The next time we heard the words "You don't come from around here, do you?" was with the same car and similar outfits at a gas station in Barstow on Route 66. The locals looked at us like we were martians. We looked at the locals like they were packing handguns. We left quickly.
4. To find out more about Fifi & Romeo click this. If you're in LA, you have to go there, even if you don't have a dog. Yana is an incredible lady with great energy. And you might catch a glimpse of more-gorgeous-than-Lenny in the bargain.
5. Look at that face! Just look at it! Is it any wonder why he's spoiled? Oi gevaldt.