Leopard is the New Black

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Leopard print never really leaves the high street, and it has long been associated with everything tacky and trashy, Essex and Jersey shore are just two of the current style associations but as of Autumn/Winter 2013, designers such as Diane von Furstenburg http://www.dvf.com/must-haves/leopard-prints/ and Burberry have explored several avenues of chic, colourful and contemporary styles to change the reputation of this iconic motif.

Re-invented with colour and shape, chunky silhouettes and knitwear have taken the ‘night on the tiles’ feel out of the print, bringing it into the more sombre light of day, succeeding in dispelling some of its trashy Las Vegas Strip edge. We have also seen hints that the larger scale prints are proving more popular at the shows, and J’adore Tresor predict it will be the inflated leopard that will stand out as the fashion forward choice over the season.

Accessories are the simplest and most effective way to add leopard print to your outfit. Tame that wildcat with a scarf or bag that won’t overpower your outfit but will add a touch of feline fancy. Colour has been introduced to animal prints this year with enthusiasm, reds, blues, pinks and even greens have all added an extra dimension to the prints, which have a tendency to be overused and garish in their overused ‘realistic’ colours. This concept however has also been taken to the other extreme; fusing it with this years’ ever popular monochrome style is a predictable but happy outcome of 2013. Monochrome leopard print is simple, smart and stylish.

The high street stores are also embracing this feline trend.   The per una leopard print tassel bag makes it an everyday affordable work bag.

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This Kate Spade leather and pony skin tote available from Selfridges exubes chic to the max.

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There’s a lot of leopard print in Tamara Mellon’s debut fashion collection. Tamara Mellon the co founder of jimmy choo is due to launch her new collection at net a porter in November 2013. For fifteen years, Tamara Mellon was the muse of Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe company she co-founded in London. The stilettos regularly appeared on Sex and the City and quickly became an object of desire; wearing them suggested a life of carefree glamour. Mellon knows plenty about control; when Jimmy Choo was invested in by private equity companies she was constantly battling her creative vision against a less-than-sympathetic board of male managers. She lets rip about this in her newly released autobiography In My Shoes, a must-read for anyone who enjoys a tale of money, family feuding and business back-stabbing.  Tamara Mellon adores leopard print and has included this in her new collection.  This chic coat is a fashion must have.

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http://www.net-a-porter.com/Shop/Designers/Tamara_Mellon

It seems that everyone from high street to designers are getting in on the animal print act. The Net-a-Porter founder and British Fashion Council chairman, Natalie Massenet was spotted pairing a leopard print Marc Jacobs skirt with a leopard print Valentino Rockstud clutch at New York Fashion Week; the following week in London Kate Moss was seen front row at Topshop’s show in a pair of black leopard print Hysteric Glamour jeans.

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©Catwalking

From left: Roland Mouret; Giambattista Valli; DKNY; Burberry Prorsum

Stylist, Isabel Dupré, whose equivalent to the little black dress is an Isabel Marant leopard print number she considers her fail-safe go-to. “There is something that reads expensive and ‘fashion’ in the print when it is worn right,” she adds. “Most of the time it’s as timeless as wearing black.”

“Leopard print really is the new classic,” agrees Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Women today should look at leopard as a great investment piece and not something to shy away from because it’s too bold or too old or too young.” Helen David, head of womenswear at Harrods, says that because designers have offered leopard print in paler tones for autumn, it has become a more versatile day-to-evening option. “This season leopard print has firmly established itself,”

Walk into a Burberry shop anywhere in the world and you will be faced by a plethora of animal spots; leopard print sleeves on a gabardine trench, a pair of metal bow-front patterned pumps, leopard mink trim on a tan drawstring leather bag, a below-the-knee calfskin printed pencil skirt, matching gloves or even an outsized leopard print umbrella.

Fellow Italian designer Roberto Cavalli has long had a love for these patterns. “Nature created the animal print and I just put my own twist on it,” he says. “What I appreciate most about leopard is its strong graphic identity that also lends itself to interpretation. As long as you wear it with confidence and ease, leopard will always be empowering.”

So it seems that the amount of prints women are now dressing in, leopard really is the ‘new black’.

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