Animal Prints - Why The Perennial Trend Will Be Forever Chic

Julia Harvey
·3-min read
Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

From ELLE

Trends come and go (and come and go), but there are some which remain evergreen, earning their keep year after year. They may be more popular from one season to another but, on the whole, they will inevitably reappear forming the cornerstones of our wardrobes.

And this season, amid all the ideas that will have their five minutes of fame, we saw our beloved animal print dutifully return. Once worn by our parents and our grandparents before them it still feels as relevant as ever. At Balenciaga's SS20 show, leopard print arrived in coat form; masculine and oversized with poppin' padded shoulders (see above for those trends that come and go) worn with yellow tights and some quite major earrings. Subtle!

Photo credit: Imaxtree - Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree - Imaxtree

At Saint Laurent models slunk down the catwalk in sultry cheetah print dresses, while Richard Quinn's take on leopard was full of joy. A parade of frothy, XXL dresses and exaggerated cartoon-like prints. But it's not just big cats out there on the runway, no no. Over at Dolce the whole safari was on display with rainforest prints, giraffes, zebras, and tropical birds aplenty.

Photo credit: Carlo Scarpato
Photo credit: Carlo Scarpato

Back to Balenciaga where zebra stripes were given an 80s sequin upgrade on jumpsuits Grace Jones would be proud of. And stripes it seems, were the pattern du jour with the likes of Marine Sierre, Marques'Almeida and Tod's, all giving us tiger and zebra inspired prints.

Photo credit: Paul Natkin
Photo credit: Paul Natkin

What else would amp up denim in quite the same way? Or bring instant glamour to slinky slips? Or even add a bit of pizzazz to sportswear? For this season, animal print and summer dressing go together like Justin and Hailey and it's not just the catwalks that are teaming with animals. The high street and independent brands are offering some of the best pieces around, from bucket hats and bikinis to chic ankle grazing midi skirts. Fashion favourite Ganni has even brought back their much sought after leopard slip dress, the ultimate summer piece guaranteed to come back out of the wardrobe next summer. As we said, buy today, wear forever, this perennial trend has already been on repeat for years.

On occasion, animal print is given a bad rep. Linked to the likes of Pat Butcher or Kat Slater. But these connoisseurs are not to be scoffed at, giving us lessons in leopard print's more 'kitsch' reiterations. To see how to wear it well, look to the likes of Bella Hadid or Tracey Ellis Ross who's love for leopard pops up across their Insta feeds.

For more #inspo delve into the archives and marvel at Ala茂a's Fall '91 show with tight knit dresses, Sophia Loren circa 1960 in leopard evening jacket or even Kate Moss's leopard print coat that has reappeared all the way through from the early 2000s. Imagine stomping through Glastonbury in a grungy 90s tiger striped maxi dress or going full Bianca Jagger circa 1970 by donning a pair of wide leg tux trousers, giant sunglasses and a hip length leopard coat? Sounds good right!

Photo credit: Michel Dufour - Getty Images
Photo credit: Michel Dufour - Getty Images

Fast forward to AW20 and already animal print has taken its place as a key player for autumn dressing. Marc Jacobs in particular, gave us charming First Lady inspired Princess coats (with matching hats thank you very much) that Jackie Kennedy would'e been proud of.

Photo credit: Filippo Fior
Photo credit: Filippo Fior

If leopard print isn't your cup of tea, why not give tiger a go? Arguably leopard's cooler cousin, this print will carry you straight through summer.

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