„I really don’t understand minimalism. It’s so polite and boring. If you don’t want anyone to notice you, you should stay home and grow your own vegetables.” – Roberto Cavalli
I fell in love with leopard print, for the first time, several years ago, when I bought a dress. I recently relapsed, when I made room in my wardrobe for a handbag (and then for another one), flats, underwear, one maxi and one midi skirt, a cardigan, a Versace scarf.
To my joy and wonder, I now notice that my love is as legal as it can be. Animal prints are no longer seen as vulgar but, look at that, they were tamed by fashion and are as worn and wearable as any other floral, abstract, or geometric print. Even more than this, I could dare to say that they are on the verge of causing an overdose, in danger of becoming a commonplace, just like nautical stripes in the summer.
And then, what should I do? Give up the leopard print?
No, I won’t give it up. Just because finally, it became a “classic”. Are animal prints the new black? Designers in Milan certainly think so. Go all out in head-to-toe Roberto Cavalli or pair a Simonetta Ravizza dress with fresh white sneakers for a more street-friendly take. Of course, an overdose can mean that too much “ wild glam” will burden an outfit, and make out of a woman an ostentatious doll.
But since we are not at a circus show, I encourage you that, if you do appreciate the animal print, to place your bet on pieces with a zero glamour risk: tops with accents, accessories, a coat, a pair of trousers that is not too tight, or a pair of beautiful leopard print shoes…
Still, pay attention, as this rather “sauvage” print leaves no room for mistakes. A cheap fabric, of a poor quality (whether we are talking about textiles or leather replacements) or a print that was poorly made (a contrast that it too bold, colors chosen badly) can easily send it in the zone of the vulgar. Try to imagine how a leopard print would look like on a T-shirt made 100% out of lycra or on an acrylic pullover. Or on a spiky and rough short coat made out of faux-fur.
Because you will hardly abuse this print, you can afford to choose noble fabrics, well-made cuts, and pieces that are less common: a natural silk blouse, a loose T-shirt made out of eco-friendly cotton, a knitted piece with cashmere fibres…
In the case of accessories, apply the same principle: quality, not quantity. The belt you choose should not be made out of plastic or lacquered, but made out of leather or covered in short, printed hairs. The scarves should be soft and fluid, not rough like a military blanket. The same goes for bags, wallets, shoes. Choose the best leopard print shoes to add some glam to your outfit.
How do you plan to wear leopard print?