In the AW22 season, animal print is back in the big time, this time with a distinctly grown-up twist.
For some, it’s a trend that never goes out of fashion. For others, it’s a trend that goes in and out of fashion every few seasons. . “Animal prints can elevate any outfit and make an instant statement,” says Lana Katramiz, private client stylist at Farfetch. “Not only can you easily integrate them into your outfits, but these prints are also interesting in that you can dress them up or down for any look you create. Don’t forget to experiment with different textures and fabrics, whether it’s leather, faux fur or cowhide, to see what you feel comfortable in.”
Perhaps the most popular member of the animal kingdom – at least in terms of fashion – the leopard first gained popularity when Christian Dior championed it in the ’50s and has since been seen on everyone from Jennifer Lopez to chic French actress Catherine Deneuve, who wore leopard models by her close friend Yves Saint Laurent throughout his career. Kate Moss has been partial to leopard print for years, and who can forget Naomi Campbell in a cheetah head-to-toe at the Azzedine Alaïa AW91 show?
Despite the popularity of animal prints, fashion fans are divided into two different camps on the issue, with some believing the trend is on the wrong side of stylish. But this time around, designers have found a middle ground, rethinking traditional silhouettes to give them a more grown-up look. And it’s not just the leopard – on the catwalk we saw cheetah, zebra and snakeskin in a fresh new version. Roberto Cavalli creative director Fausto Puglisi once again turned to the founder’s animalistic mania, presenting outfits, capes and oversized suits in cheetah and leopard. Showcasing a balanced mix of structured shoulders and blazers with flowing dresses and gowns, each piece has an elegant appeal, radiating power on par with the animals themselves. Etro also showcased a glamorous, flowing leopard print maxi dress and a cosy zebra print jacket that are on our winter wish list.
As fashion month progressed, more and more collections gave the animal print a polished look with an emphasis on tailoring and more fashionable silhouettes. We saw full-length coats and blazers at St John, Jil Sander and Dries Van Noten, while Celine paired snakeskin-print midi skirts with lightweight jumpers perfect for chilly UAE evenings. For an even more subtle take on the trend, look to Giambattista Valli, where alongside long double-breasted coats, we saw lightweight jackets with leopard print details that are the perfect entry point into the trend.
If you’re already a big fan of this print but want to make it more grown-up, there are a few key rules to follow this season: don’t mix it with other prints or bold colours and always pay attention to fabric quality. “If you’re not ready to go all out, you can opt for animal print accessories to create a minimal or understated look,” adds Katramiz, suggesting complementing the look with a pair of cowboy boots, a small handbag or a bright jacket in your favourite print.
“Animal print has been part of the fashion industry for so long, you can’t go wrong,” she concludes. “Always remember that these prints can pair instantly with other pieces and take your wardrobe to a completely new level.”