Primitive man and woman used the skins for warmth and protection. Maybe when we wear animal print we are searching to discover our primitive past? I am sure it was a symbol of wealth and the powers of survival to have been wearing animal print five million years ago. Yes, five.
Throughout history, kings and other high people have used animal print rugs and such as a sign of status just as mounted animals are kept as trophies. Animal prints have this mystique about them harking back to primitive times. Animal print screams success, power, aristocracy. An ancient telltale of wealth and power. Generally very expensive and very rare in the past, not to be confused with animal fur which is real, animal prints are just that, prints that look like animal skins. Harmless indeed.
The 1940’s saw the emergence of animal print during the early stages of the women’s movement. Liberator pioneers like BettiePage were the inspiration for animal print to be sexy and fashionable. Cheetah print I believe was her thing.
The 1950’s fashion designer Christian Dior’s muse Mitzah Bricard was fascinated by leopard print. Dior followed his heart and infused his accessories, lines, and campaigns with leopard. The forward movement redefined animal print to a level of chic sophistication and elegance. No woman’s ensemble was complete without a touch of leopard.
The 1960’s saw a whole new revolution spawned by the Hippie Movement as a new place for exotic animal pelt patterns, which were emulated on printed patterns for popular women’s apparel in different new rebellious colors. The concept to be wild and free like an “Easy Rider”.
The dangerous side of animal print appeared in the 1970’s. The Punk Rock movement brought about leopard print accents and torn cheetah print stockings. Rebellious music paired with the wild equals chic, sexy and dangerous. The 70’s also brought about nightgowns infused with animal prints, teddies, undies, etc. Leopard print jumpsuits, bell bottoms, even zebra print platform shoes. The emergence of street art and hip hop music were propelled by Blondie at this great moment in fashion and music history.
Jumping to 00’s, funny isn’t it, now is the time to take all of that trial and error and make good of it all. Animal prints will always be sexy, chic, fun, dangerous, elegant, adventurous, alluring, and downright brilliant. As I mentioned before I am intrigued by animal print. It compels me to show my primal side when venturing out on the town. It never goes out of style, and this coming fall it will be the hottest trend!