Animal Magic

Animal print has been around for donkey’s years (excuse the pun…) and yet everyone still seems so cautious of it. Granted, it is very easy to overdo and look like mutton dressed as lamb (sorry, couldn’t resist!), but it needn’t be in-your-face, head-to-toe leopard print. Not all the time anyway. Take Miu Miu’s A/W 11 show as an example. Using the silhouettes of birds on dresses and shirts with clean lines, Miuccia Prada created beautifully elegant garments with a twist. There was nothing overtly sexy about them: they evoked a chic individuality, something wearing any print should do. Whilst many people worry about looking ‘OTT’ in animal print, designers like Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli simply can’t get enough. From the classic D&G leopard print corseted dresses, to the more sensual and flowing snake prints often rocked by models on Cavalli’s catwalks, these designers certainly don’t want their clients to shy away from the limelight. Often hailed as the original brand to do leopard print (and, more importantly, to do it well), there is no escaping the fact that D&G’s dresses are sexy and curve-creating.

This season, animal prints have had a comeback on the catwalk. Cow print coats at Burberry Prorsum and two-piece leopard print suits at Moschino Cheap & Chic left us with a clear message: animal print wasn’t going anywhere. Luckily for us, many High Street stores have broadened the scope by opting for a subtler route. Buying separates in these bold patterns will allow you to dress the items up or down, as you fancy. Skirts are a brilliant way of doing this. Throwing on a chunky knit and some casual heeled boots is the perfect way to take your printed mini from ’80s no-no to 2013 blogger. Add some neon, if you dare.

It would be blasphemous not to dedicate a few lines to the one and only Kenzo. Off the fashion radar for a while, it found a new light in 2012 under Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. Ever since, bloggers, celebs and dedicated fashionistas everywhere have been going mad for the tiger sweaters which sold out instantly. Thanks to Kenzo, wearing clothing with actual animals printed or embroidered on the front became cool again. High street stores quickly followed suit and the H&M sweater featured here is just one of the many examples. Snap them up while they’re still on trend, and save your pennies for a good old leopard print Dolce & Gabbana pencil skirt: that is one item that will never go out of fashion. 

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Get the look:

 

1. With the subtle shimmer on this black leopard Whistles skater skirt, it could be dressed up or dressed down. Just add a plain cami, a pair of heels and some statement silver jewellery and you’re set! Alternatively throw on an oversized grey cashmere jumper, tights and black boots for a chic winter ensemble.

Whistles.co.uk, £135

2. Whistles is on fire this season: these cute animal print gloves are the perfect way to add a playful touch to a simple accessory. Snap them up in this beautiful plum colour before they all go!

Whistles.co.uk, £65

3. If animal print clothing makes you nervous, why not try jazzing up a plain black dress with this standout Topshop clutch-on-chain. The classic box shape gives this that designer feel. Perfect for those Christmas parties.

Topshop.com, £28

4. This sweater, à la Kenzo (but fortunately without the price tag), provides the perfect off-duty look. Just add black skinnies, a really cool statement necklace and a pair of Marant’s for that blogger look. Perfect.

Hm.com, £29.99

5. Leopard print is everywhere this season, and this skirt is a staple. More striking than the Whistles version above, the black and white still adds that necessary touch of class when wearing animal print. Sexy, not streetwalker, is the aim. Team with a bright top, courts and blazer for a look that will take you from the day job to the bar.

Riverisland.com, £25