Leopard is a print that struts down the catwalk season after season. The magazines try to sell it to us as a trend, but I think we can all agree it’s a staple!
Pictured: Gene Tierney in the 1940’s
In 1925, American film actress Marian Nixon created quite a sensation in the fashion world by matching her new fur coat with her pet. She was seen parading a pet leopard on a leash down Hollywood Boulevard.
Christian Dior’s muse, Mitzah Bricard, was fascinated by leopard print. Dior was the first to use leopard as a print (and not fur) in his 1947 spring-summer collection. Leopard print represented the post-war return to glam and provided a welcome reprieve from fabric rationing after World War II.
Pictured: Mitzah Bricard
Wearing leopard print was synonymous with great sophistication and elegance. No woman’s ensemble was complete without a touch of leopard. Iconic screen sirens like Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Barbra Streisand firmly linked leopard print to luxury as they wore it through the next few decades.
Pictured: Barbra Streisand in the 1960’s
Italian designer Roberto Cavalli first came onto the fashion scene in the 1970’s and has used leopard print in every collection which has brought him great success.
The wild side of animal print appeared in the mid-1970′s. The Punk Rock movement saw leopard print worn with ripped denim and motorcycle jackets. Rebellious music paired with the wild print created an illusion of being sexy and dangerous.
The 80’s brought leopard print back into glamour mode, worn with diamonds, fur and sequins. This decade of fashion lacked much ‘sophistication’ but leopard print was a symbol of wealth and style.
Pictured: Joan Collins in Dynasty
In the 1990’s leopard print took a fatal turn to trash-town. The print’s rebellious sexiness of the 70’s was mashed with its over-the-top glamour of the 80’s, which resulted in leopard print becoming a symbol of overt sexuality. Characters in TV and film wore leopard print to convey their ‘sexiness’, pop stars turned to leopard print to establish their ‘sex status’.
Pictured: Christina Aguilera
Pictured: Fran Drescher in The Nanny
Since the late 2000’s we have seen leopard print regain its allure and today the print stands for sex, sophistication and luxury in equal parts.
I love leopard print on anything and everything: shoes, bags, skirts, pants, jackets, scarves…anything! However a classic leopard print shirt is something I believe every gal should have in her closet.
This one by Equipment is my favourite:
A leopard print shirt can be dressed up or down, worn with boyfriend jeans or a pencil skirt. The options are endless as leopard print is made up of neutral colours and so is a neutral itself.
Here is some styling inspiration.
Information source: ssense