- 13 Aug 18
It's a trend that rears its head every few years, and in Autumn/Winter 2018, it will be back with even more bite. That's right, it's time to embrace your wild side with animal print.
Just when you thought leopard print had used up its nine lives, it prowled back onto the catwalks. Christian Dior was the designer who transformed the risque pattern into high fashion back in the 1950s, when Dior began working with his muse Mitzah Bricard. Bricard loved the sensuality of leopard print, so Dior created a whole collection around the print, which soon became associated with sexuality and rock and roll. Debbie Harry of Blondie rocked leopard better than anyone else, while Jackie Collins once said her biggest weakness was 'wearing too much leopard print' - as if that's possible.
It's thus no surprise that Dior brought leopard back to the catwalks this season, teaming high-waisted leopard print trousers with red and black stripes, baker boy hats and fishnet for a grungy look, while Versace paired the feline print with golden baroque embroidery on structured dresses for a more decadent look. Victoria Beckham used leopard print in her chic trench coats, while Alice + Olivia kept it classic with faux-fur coats. While these designers all kept the palette classic, Prada went for neon orange hues in its leopard blazers, while Tom Ford went bold with red metallic leopard tuxedos, to really up the ante.
But leopard wasn't the only animal print making its way down the catwalks. Snakeskin was another print favoured by designers, with Altuzarra evoking a snaky slinkiness with their python print pencil skirts. Tom Ford also brought some silvery snake-print to his tuxedos, the scales shimmering with metallic highlights.
Zebra print was another popular choice, with Zadig & Voltaire featuring high-necked blouses and matching mini-skirts in yellow zebra print, for a bright twist. Saint Laurent, meanwhile, featured calf-hair zebra print booties in an haute couture DNA experiment worthy of Jurassic World.
To rock animal print in a chic and modern way, be aware of your silhouette. Animal print has often been utilised as part of a deliberately hyper-sexual, trashy aesthetic - no hate, we love us some wild 90s grunge! But this season, animal print has a fresher, softer chicness. It's not about the body-con dress, but about more billowing fabrics. Look for flowing dresses that can be cinched at the waist with a belt, and paired with a blazer or light jacket for when the weather finally beings to cool.
Jumpsuits are also a great way to rock a head-to-toe animal print, as they give a modern silhouette and some coverage, while still turning heads. If you prefer a lighter approach, pick one statement piece which you can pair with simple black, or be a bit daring and clash with another print - stripes, polka dots or colour-blocked pieces look fantastic when paired with animal prints. And of course accessories are a great way to sometimes literally dip your toe into a strong trend, so add some spice to an everyday ensemble with some leopard print heels, a snakeskin bag or a zebra print belt.