The leopard print
THE LEOPARD PRINT
Trendy or timeless? Trashy or classy?
Unless you have lived under a rock the past few years, you know that the leopard print is back. Leopard print dresses, leopard print skirts, leopard print pants or leopard print blouses. You can think of it whatever you want, but the leopard print is definitely part of the fashion- and street scene. Seriously, HOW have we ever lived without this print???
Well, we have never! Because the leopard print has always been there. Okay, maybe not physically in your wardrobe, but always dormant in the background.
De leopard print – dear readers – is the predator amongst the trends. This predator stalks slowly, estimates its prey - that's you - on (figurative ;-)) nutritional value, lets you believe that you are free and safe, and if you are the least on your guard it will go into the top gear, grabs you with its claws and never let go. You're hooked for life.
Sounds familiar? We agree. But what determines the magical attraction that the leopard print exerts on us? Is it that mildly dangerous look? That indisputable sex appeal? Or that intriguing, thin line between classy and trashy – more about that later. Let's first try to unravel the magic.
IN THE BEGINNING…..
. . . there was no fashion. Only clothing, purely intended for protection and - incidentally - to give extra charge & content to primitive rituals. In ancient Egypt, for example, the high priests wore a robe of leopard skin, and heirs of the pharaohs were depicted with a glitzy panther coat. Symbolic power for the afterlife versus mental power for the earthly tasks.
A panther skin was also a practical item of clothing when hunting, for reasons you can think of yourself (camouflage and intimidation ofcourse). The sour fact is that nowadays the panther has evolved from a threatening species to a threathened, or endangered species. C’est la vie . . .
SYMBOLIC - C’EST CHIC
The leopard, or panther is a large feline and there is a lot of symbolism attached to that name. From good luck charm to doom prophet, and from witch pet to ultimate glamor symbol. Cats are naturally curious, intuitive and; un-equally arrogant. With reason. Because oh oh oh how beautiful cats are. That grace, that suppleness, that lazy sensuality. Those hypnotic eyes, those elegantly curved nails(Note to all readers with a fat and lazy house cat; deep down inside you baby is also a real diva. She's just hiding it a bit better!).
But enough about cats in general and on to the heart of the matter; the leopard. Or put more precisely; the leopard print!
CLASSY OR TRASHY
-AN ONGOING DEBATE-
Anyone who has read our blog about the ugly sneaker knows that we think trends like these are up for discussion. The leopard print is a good example; we have already mentioned the intriguing thin line between classy and trashy. Because where is the difference between the Nel Veerkamp and Jacky Kennedy print?
Is it the social circles in which leopard print enthusiasts are found, is it the art of combining, or is a leopard print just a bit chicer with the slender upper class than with the voluptuous middle class? We couldn't tell you, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. . . (those felines have 9 lives, you know. If that were you, you wouldn't want the same look every day ;-))
ICONIC FASHION HISTORY
There is plenty of (hilarious) footage, but the leopard print has also clearly earned its spurs in serious (fashion) history. A fine example of an iconic lady who took her love for the leopard print to the extreme is Marion Nixon, a Hollywood actress who had a leopard as a pet in the 1920s. And went shopping with her dear pet as if that was perfectly ordinary. It clearly illustrates the attention paid to the leopard print in the - now literally - roaring twenties.
In the 40s it was Christian Dior who launched the New Look; a collection with an exorbitantly generous use of materials that poked fun at the scarcity of the war years. This controversiality was further underlined by the use of the leopard print, about which the master himself said ‘ if you are sweet and fair, don’t wear it”. The man had a soft spot for strong women :-).
We also encounter the leopard print in ‘The swinging sixties’. Christian Dior played his the mischief all over again in 1960, Edie Sedgwick – the world's first influencer in the pre-digital era – wore the leopard print with a little twist, and La Streisand sang her love song in a matching getup.
In the 80s and 90s there was a raw edge added to the mix. The leopard print became rock 'n roll (Blondie's Debby Harry), explicitly sexually tinted (erotic' bodywear ') and designer Azzedine Alaia made a complete leopard print collection.
More than enough historical footage to illustrate the long-term nature of the leopard print. But what about the present? Isn't the leopard print too old to be relevant? No! The fashion world is creative enough to illuminate an "Old but gold" item like the leopard print from new angles. Think of surprising use of color, exciting print mix, the crazy approach versus neo-classical, a fresh approach to accessories and - yes really! - the panther hairstyle.
If you weren't head over heels yet, you probably are now. Search and find the panther within you. . . indulge!
As you can imagine, at PLEIN PUBLIQUE we are big fans of this timeless classic leopard print, you too? Then check this link. We collected our leopard print items for you there.
See you nect time!
Nicole & Ilse
Blogger duo Nicole and Ilse. They became colleagues and sisters in crime in their previous jobs and still work together a lot; they share an unbridled love for / knowledge of fashion & lifestyle. Opposites as they are - dark versus blonde, classic beauty versus rock chick. Momboss Nicole, mother of three kids versus freelancer copywriter Ilse where even a pet is not even negotiable. It is that duality (they are not a duo but a dua :) with which they bring out the best in each other. Nicole is the proud owner of PLEIN PUBLIQUE and makes amazingly good collections, Ilse writes as a freelance copywriter mrsalwayswrite.nl for (fashion) brands and web shops. Together they "knit" together a monthly blog about fashion and trends. They like it. And hopefully you do too.