Fashion: Where the wild things are
Animal print gets a sophisticated luxe makeover for autumn/winter. Stephanie Smith has advice on what to put on your hit-list.
Not so much a fashion trend, more a classic style-meets-glamour statement, leopard print has prowled its way down the international catwalks and onto the new season rails of a High Street store or supermarket near you.
But care must be taken. If you would rather look more Brigitte Bardot meets Kate Moss than Kat Slater meets Pam Butcher, there are rules to keep in mind, the chief of which is to avoid tight, clingy, leopard-print dresses and tops, especially when worn with huge, dangling earrings (although this surely goes without saying?).
This season, the new fashion rules mean that you can – and should – wear two or three clashing animal prints together, although remember that black, caramel, navy and cream are a leopard’s friends and natural partners, helping to tame even the fiercest pattern.
On the High Street, online and especially in the supermarkets, there are some trophy animal-print pieces to be had, so catch them as quickly as you can, because they won’t be on the ground for long.
Some are available now, with more dropping as the autumn/winter progresses, in September through to October. Keep an eye out for the styles you love coming up on stores’ websites, and sign up for email alerts when you can.
So, what to put on your trophy hit-list? First, think Seventies style, think relaxed, think luxurious.
The Michael Kors collection sent down its catwalks a billowing, floaty, fluted-sleeve midi dress worn with slouchy boots – a key style for this autumn, flattering, easy to put together and a look that can take you from desk to dinner with sophisticated flair.
To channel the look perfectly, head over to House of Fraser and the Michael Kors diffusion collection, where you will find similar styles of midi dress, with a lovely cold-shoulder floaty wrap dress, costing £195, in store now, while the tie belt midi dress featured here will be coming later in the season.
Etro also showcased the billowing animal-print midi dress, but upped the glamour stakes by taking rich golden leopard print and teaming it with floral and other prints plus bright colours, showing us the fun to be had this autumn from putting together clashing pattern and contrasting shade.
Meanwhile, Dolce & Gabbana (which is not usually one to change its spots without good reason) has clearly enjoyed playing with its signature leopard-print luxe looks for autumn. The label presented typically glamorous, body-con, scoop-neck pencil dresses, but also leopard-print trouser suits with matching coat slung over, leopard oversized bomber jackets and, indeed, also some floaty tiered maxi dresses, in leopard chiffon.
This autumn/winter, animal print is perhaps not so much tamed, as taken to new heights of luxury and style, wearable but defiantly statement-like.
So we are seeing a range of tactile textures in leopard, cheetah and snake prints, from foiled hide looks to velvets and dense fur fabrics, bringing us irresistibly touchable coats, bags and footwear.
Supermarkets are most definitely channelling leopard-print luxe, offering key looks at bargain prices.
F&F at Tesco will be stocking a beautifully chic, short, floaty leopard tunic dress, while leopard is a key component for many pieces in the new Heidi Klum collection for Lidl (yes, that’s right, Lidl), which launches on September 18, in store and online, with prices from £6.99 to £49.99. So you can afford to go wild (although do keep it sophisticated).
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