5 things to know about animal prints
It may have been the wardrobe staple of the sleazy nouveaux riche and tasteless poseurs, but animal prints have made a comeback in the world of fashion and this season, following a slow but steady build up since the Fall of 2008, it couldn’t be more in.
A feral rage has swept the industry and the phenomenon has become so big that, in allusion to Alicia Keys in Empire State of Mind, fashion capitals across the globe have apparently become urban jungles.
But right now, we’re not here to convince you to wear the trend by citing the forwardness of cheetah or the confounding contrast of zebra (god knows we’d be preaching to converts). Nope, we’re here to give you a bit of background on animal prints so whenever you pick up that Lanvin pour H&M trench and put it on your back, you’ll understand the proud tradition that it represents.
1.) Wearing animal print is a tradition descended from monarchs and noblemen. Throughout history, kings have used animal print rugs and such as a sign of status. Before its reputation went down the drain – that’s to say when commoners found out what it symbolised – animal print’s exotic allure and generally high cost of acquisition were used as symbols of status and wealth.
2.) Even today, an African man with royal blood will have leopard skin somewhere on his person, be it a trendy hat or the more traditional loincloth.
3.) The Hippie movement in the United States popularised animal print as a wardrobe essential among women in the 1960s. Thank the hippies for bestial prints.
4.) It’s here to stay. Before the “wildcats of the city” boom of 2010, designers like Betsey Johnson, Roberto Cavalli and the House of Prada had continually included the carnal style element in their collections over the years, and we predict they’ll keep doing that even after the Saharan creatures have left the glitz and glamour of the sartorial world for their own cozy little kingdoms in Africa.
5.) Like most everything, animal print should be worn in moderation. Its beautiful aesthetic may encourage you to keep wearing more, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard. The amount of feline madness that you can sport without looking ridiculous should kept to a maximum of two square feet or 288 square inches, as a rule of thumb. That’s about one sleeveless top or a pair of Cavalli’s knee-high leopard boots.
You can go a bit beyond that, but that idea is to wear just one article of clothing bearing the print, and as little of it as possible. If you’re wearing at least a square metre of the stuff and you still think you look good in the mirror, throw out your mirror because it is most definitely lying.