LEOPARD print is officially here to stay. Season after season it remains the guilty little fashion pleasure of designers with some element of leopard or animal print sneaking into their collections. It may be the marmite of fashion but love it or hate it incorporating even just a touch of the print into your wardrobe will go a long way in the fashion stakes. While on the catwalk leopard print may be the star child, in the real world the words ‘leopard print’ conjure up images of a busty English barmaid like Liz McDonald or an American trailer park dame – neither being a style icon of choice.
So it seems that leopard print needs a new style icon. Who better then the fiercest woman in fashion, Anna Wintour? If Queen Anna can step out in a leopard print coat then we can officially confirm that leopard print has exited tactville and is now entering the chic zone. Anna’s not the only fan of the print. The ultimate warrior print princess Diane Von Furstenberg is the goddess of all things print with leopard being a firm favourite.
Just watching the House of DVF is a feast for the eyes of brightly coloured animal prints. DVF’s New York office is an animal print haven, a place where all the animal prints of the world want to spend their days. The wrap dress mogul has transported animal print into the future for the modern woman. Her Heritage DVF Amelia Silk Combo dress wraps a purple and pink neo- leopard print perfectly around the body, creating an edgy yet chic way of wearing the style.
Another design house renowned for their loud and brash prints is Versace. According to fashion blogger Louise Cooney the Italian label is a go to for leopard print.
“Versace is a designer that does leopard print well. Versace is known for its fashion, its glamour and its sexiness, which would explain why leopard print is such a good fit for so many of their designs.” On her blog www.louisecooney.com Louise shares selfies of her outfits of the day and is an advocate of all things leopard and what it can bring to an outfit.
“Leopard print is so timeless and classic. It can be a subtle way of adding a bit of edge to a look.” When stepping out in leopard print Louise takes inspiration from New York socialite Olivia Palermo. The words tacky and Olivia Palermo are never said in the same sentence. If you’re looking for a woman to take leopard print tips from, Palermo is always a solid choice.
“You can see she uses the leopard print to make a statement with her outfits, but everything else about her look is quite simple – her hair, make up and the colours she has matched with it! Only she would get away with wearing two different types of leopard print in the same look and still look chic,” explains Louise.
For those of us a bit terrified of the leopard, Louise recommends introducing the print into your wardrobe through statement pieces, “ Pick a fabulous pair of leopard print heels or boots. I love a leopard print belt – it’s such an easy way to make a simple outfit a little bit more interesting. Also a leopard print bag is a great way to dress up a look. I think the key with wearing leopard print is to pair it with something simple – let the leopard print do its job!”
While stylist Clementine MacNeice may not opt for head to toe leopard print she certainly believes it has a strong place in the fashion world and is aware of its significant place in fashion history.
“Leopard print can be key in adding a bit of fun to an outfit and bringing it to life,” says Clementine, “Dolce and Gabbana and Cavalli have never shied away from leopard print. Both taking a very sexy take on the look which worked well during its time in the 80s and 90s. Christian Dior was the first designer to put leopard print on the runway in the 1940s and Dior remains the master of it with elegant cuts and chic lines.” For Clementine leopard print is all about accessorising. When it comes to sprucing up the little black dress Clementine recommends adding some leopard print.
“Shoes! I was surprised to find I have five pairs of leopard print shoes in my wardrobe! Including runners, flats, boots and heels! They are the perfect cheeky addition to an all-black outfit,” explains Clementine. “This season leopard print boots are everywhere on the high street, I invested in a pair myself.”
I’m a big fan of leopard print going as far to say that I love it. I think it is one of the single most important prints in design. While I try to incorporate touches of it here and there I like to think I’ve nailed the edgy coolness of Kate Moss. But there is the fear that it’s more Stifler’s mom. This still isn’t enough to deter me. My go-to label for leopard print would have to be The Kooples. Like a French woman the label subtly uses the print to form an edgy yet chic look.
So is leopard print key to a fashionista’s wardrobe? Yes; it’s not brash, just misunderstood.
Check out @clementinemacneice & louisecooney_ on instagram.