From Cruella de Vil to Kate Moss, leopard print (faux, of course) seems to be the most ridiculously fabulous addition to our modern wardrobe. Arguably a post-ironic (aka so uncool, its cool) phenomena, this particular animal print seems to be a statement piece for many fashion icons. Whatever the case, leopard print is one of our latest renovated trends. Perhaps leopard print mirrors the rebranded perception of similar modern styles, like ‘nerd’ glasses and mum jeans; but with this turning into a staple piece in every Bohemian styled wardrobe since the early 20th century, it’s likely that this is a trend destined to stay.
With past years donning leopard print ‘trashy’ or ‘cheap’, despite its initial introduction denoting wealth and power, this fashion piece has a fluctuating past (and probably future too). More recently, leopard print was associated with the nouveau riche ‘trophy wives’. But if we again question the post-ironic state of this garment, we know that leopard print sits in the realm of fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts. These items are deemed ‘uncool’ enough to be considered ‘cool’ once again. Lets just hope this pattern does not reoccur with Crocs. Please.
Therefore, in Spring 2016, we are left to question: leopard print… classy or a fashion faux pas? We can dwell on our prolonged exposure to the previously unaccepted ‘trash’ of leopard print and our old (rather rash) critical amusement of the pattern’s ‘lack of class’, and we, dare I use the idiom, ‘saw the light’. Our ironic appreciation had become genuine, go figure.
Now, heads up, leopard print is stylish. Shoes, coats, even some (perhaps raunchy) underwear. Just appreciate its ironic attractiveness.
Favoured by the masses, when chic goes mainstream, consumers adopt the previously considered ‘uncool’. Trends are adopted then dropped by the leading fashionable figures in society.
Fashion icons have leopard print garments associated with an iconic look of theirs, such as Audrey Hepburn’s leopard skin pillbox hat and Marilyn Monroe’s leopard accessories in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. Now modern day superstars have created a demand for the style. Style idol Justin Bieber wore a leopard print shirt as the 2016 Grammys and his previous styles have caught on (like his lilac hair per se). Model Bella Hadid was photographed in a long leopard print jacket and former athlete Caitlyn Jenner appeared in a long leopard print top, just to name a few. With big names donning and gorgeously brandishing stylish leopard clothes it’s sure to be an item worth putting on our wish lists.
Most notably in the fashion world is Dries Van Noten’s fall 2016 collection. This collection features, or is more accurately swarmed, with leopard prints and faux furs. Extravagance exudes from his collection, with pearls and silks creating a slightly sexy, sultry vibe. As a heralded Belgian fashion designer, Noten’s merchandise is extremely influential in fashion. His designs are often characterised by his use of prints, so it is no wonder that his most recent collection is predominantly leopard print themed.
So now to return to our original question; Leopard Print: fashion faux pas or iconic elegance? The current battle between sophistication and a style blunder, almost along the same line as double denim, continues. Ultimately, there’s no doubt that our current trends have gone wild.
Text and illustrations by Florrie Reeves