Friday, 24 September 2010

Leopard print... hits the spot

One of my most treasured possessions is a faux-fur leopard print coat from Miss Selfridge. Only purchased last year, this coat is the bearer of numerous compliments, and I cannot wait for the colder climates to breeze in, so I can adorn myself in it once more.

You see, I am a leopard-lover. Currently, my jungle wardrobe includes one silk dress from Warehouse, a floaty Topshop skirt with large pockets and zip detail, a sultry La Senza lingerie set, a somewhat faded T-shirt and a pair of ballet pumps (so old I have no idea of their origin), all in leopard print.

I would go as far as saying that I love leopard more than any other print. Floral is cute and feminine, but it lacks sex appeal. Zebra is quirky and original, but hard to find. Tribal - now this is one that truly rivals leopard, but as striking as it may be it does not carry the charm and daring attitude suggested by a leopard print.

Yet, this print seems to divide the style set quicker than a Team-Monalo vs Team-Choo debate. It is clearly because leopard print can so easily go wrong - there is a very, very fine line between tarty and tasteful. Some fear the print is just too brazen.

That is not something that concerns the felines of the celebrity jungle. Everyone from Sophie Dahl to Lily Allen to Katie Holmes are sporting the trend this winter. And love it or loathe it you will find it difficult to avoid the big cat spots this season. The catwalks for Autumn/Winter 2010 were lavished in the print, and this time is wasn't just the usual suspects taking part. Giorgio Armani made his luxurious and classic tailoring pop with a glimpse of a leopard belt or shoe. Even Dries Van Noten seemed to have a soft spot for leopard ladies, pairing his metallic, slouchy trousers with a leopard printed swing jacket. And has a range of leopard treats including the luscious Kenley Snow Leopard scarf and Kurt Geiger's sexy platform peep toe.

The high street, of course, has also gone leopard mad. ASOS ups the game with 252 items in the exotic print, ranging from Converse Hi-tops to leggings and jumpsuits.

For the faint-hearted among us, my advice is to start small. A simple scarf, a la Sarah Jessica Parker or a cute cross the shoulder bag like Florence. If, like me you don't need to start small, and in fact can't get enough of the print, this winter is the perfect season for you. Make a statement at your Christmas party with a floor length design in the style of Rachel Bilson and Kelly Clarkson. For those who are even more daring, try an original take on the print like Olivia Palermero, who opted for a pink leopard print mini dress and a leopard waist belt.

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