Whether you like it or not, animal print is back. Resurfacing in the 2018 fall collections of many designers, leopard print has ignited a movement. The movement of animal prints. When styled correctly, animal print conveys decadence and a level of sophistication.
More and more women are finding edgier ways to dress. Don’t believe me? Take a look around at your local bar, pub or nightclub and you will see the entire jungle manifested in the clothing of the crowd: cheetah, snake, tiger and yes the sleekest of them all, leopard. Women are now using these bold patterns in major pieces of clothing. Before, coats, shoes and purses had the fashion monopoly of animal prints, allowing women to gently accessorize their way to the jungle. Now, entire wardrobes are rotating around animal skirts, shirts, tights and shoes.
Leopard print may be a bold pattern to wear, however I believe it can also be a neutral pattern as well. The black-and-tan pattern looks great with almost any color palette. It can be dressed up or down, it flatters every skin tone and it pops up on runways so often that it hardly seems fair to call it a trend. And yet, what leopard conveys in fashion is highly inconsistent, especially when it comes to signifying class. Think about First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s leopard-print Oleg Cassini coat. This simple elegant full-length leopard coat portrayed her in a sophisticated and classy way. The way she wears leopard print evokes a kind of old-money femininity bolstered by a kind of unimpeachable confidence. On the other hand, leopard print can sometimes convey “trashiness,” which often represents the sexual availability of the lower-class woman. Picture Fran Drescher in a tiny leopard-print mini skirt on “The Nanny.” She is not wearing that skirt for the aspect of fashion, she is wearing it to get the attention of her wealthy employer. The gaudy leopard print she wears represents women using their wits and sexuality to slink into lives of luxury. These two very different connotations have made wearing animal print kind of a fashion risk.
Designers like Tom Ford are pioneering leopard print back into the fashion world, and it’s working. Ford’s spring 2019 collection has spurred an animal print craze among celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez. All of these celebrities display their approval of the trend by wearing animal print ensembles to performances, award ceremonies or in their daily lives. Animal print now represents a fashion forward woman. Rather than signifying class, it signifies confidence and style.