Animal Print is really DEAD?

Article by Casey Milano


Fast fashion has never been bigger business than these last few years and with trends falling in and out of favour quicker than magazines can publish its no surprise we’re overwhelmed with what’s in and what’s out. However, occasionally a trend will come along never to go out of fashion. Wah – lah! Animal print! It’s been a staple in many women’s wardrobe for years, perhaps it’s a reminder of our primitive past, makes the wearer feel like her tigress stripes – after all in a time when women everywhere are questioning what it actually means to be a woman, leopard print reminds us that the strongest women in the animal kingdom wear stipes – power dressing at its finest.

Tom Ford FW18

Tom Ford FW18

Before we move onto current print trends let us look back to where it started – Josephine Baker and Jean Harlow were the first to wear the print as outwear in the 1930’s (Shania Twain eat your heart out!) Then came the 1940s not only introducing us to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and epic movies such as Casablanca and citizen Kane the era also brought us leopard print in the form of the pin-up girl – women’s new icon. One of the most iconic of the era was Bettie Page, a model known for her risqué photography. Some of her best images were the Jungle Bettie photographs in which she posed with cheetahs in a Tarzan-like leopard mini-dress. Page in her leopard lingerie were strong images of feminine power and inspired many women to wear animal prints.


Roll onto the 50’s and the trend was forever eclipsed into the fashion world (and fashion girls hearts everywhere) when one designer and his muse -  Christian Dior and Mitzah Bricard fell in love with leopard print, and as a result, Dior created a range of his accessories featuring the design, elevating leopard to be the must-have print of the moment.

Now there isn’t a season that goes by that animal print isn’t even subtly imprinted in collections. From Tom Fords red leopard print and bright yellow cheetah, to staples such as Alice and Olivia’s leopard-print faux-fur coat, animal print is a trend that makes its way through the masses from the catwalk to the high street.

I shall make a confession however, the animal print trend has never been my cup of tea, even when scary spice inspired all my friends to ask for leopard print coats for Christmas I found the trend to live up to its name – scary – or rather vulgar, cheap (yes, I was a fussy child) but now that animal print has evolved into more options than just a leopard print coat and knee-high boots I’m giving it another chance – hey if its good enough for Bettie Page!


Now don’t get me wrong animal print can still go very wrong – it needs to be quality for it to look good (still not real fur however, nothing not even fashion justifies wearing another animals skin – but hey that’s another subject) you must wear it rather than it wears you. So, I’ve picked my 5 favourite ways to wear leopard print. No scary spice in sight.


Clash it!

Treat this print as if it were black, i.e. it will go with everything, clash it with bright colours or other prints. Not so much go big or go home (although doing your housework in leopard print is totally going big). Animal print is supposed to be fun!


Light wear

A kind of gentle nod to the animal print trend is a simple blouse peaking out from under your       blazer, its chic and not so in your face but still shows that playfulness. (And hey you’d be ready for those after work drinks!)


Double up!


courtesy of newwoman

For the truly experienced (and brave) lovers of animal print why not go double? Get those matching pants with the blouse!  - Or stick with me and start a pair of pretty pumps with the blouse instead. ROAR!!


It can be a giraffe!


Courtesy of Topshop.

(didn’t that title make you want to read on!) animal print doesn’t have to be the classic leopard print, you can go for any colour or design you fancy, one of animal prints best aspects is that it’s so versatile in how you can wear it. Pssst!  - pastel animal prints are the delicate sister of the original.


Print loves denim


Never forget or underestimate the power of denim and animal print, the absolute classic. A simple pair of jeans matched with a leopard print top or shoes, or coat or a ginger cat! Just me? Ok maybe that’s just my opinion but my cat Sid matches my jeans to a T! but my point being this look will take your denim from every day to extraordinary.