First, for the avoidance of any doubt – this piece is about animal print on fabric – not animal fur or skin.
So, to begin – two things that I have resisted wearing all my life – animal print and pussy cat bow blouses. There have been two exceptions to this. The first is back in the 1980’s when I bought an off-white polyester blouse with appropriate Thatcherite bow, to wear with a grey suit, for my first interview for a job in ‘Business’.
Reader, I got the job! It’s possible I still have the blouse, polyester being pretty much indestructible.
More recently I bought some Stella McCartney knickers – significantly reduced from The Outnet – with a subtle peach leopard print. So subtle in fact, I didn’t realise that’s what it was at first. Stella McCartney makes great underwear, there was no way I was going to return such a bargain despite the pattern or the ‘hand wash only’ instruction (as if……).
Now, unless you’ve been living on another planet, you will not have been able to escape the prints of leopards, tigers and other endangered big cats which have dominated almost every type of clothing or accessory collection ranging from the dizzy heights of Chanel, Gucci et al, to M&S to Primark, last season.
For a while I stuck to my principles and ignored the whole trend, dismissing it as a one-season wonder, but then saw a blouse in The Times from John Lewis (Somerset Range) rather liked it, tried it on in the Oxford Street Store and – here it is! And yes, it’s got a pussy-cat bow as well! What’s more, I love it.
The reason I like it is because the colours are strong, the print is bold and the fabric is weighty and drapes beautifully. Different from some of the ones out there are a bit, well …. Meh. More of a timorous token gesture to the trend
So here I am, looking a bit dishevelled, the bow coming undone, with a generous glass of red wine in one hand and Giovanni Raspini, a brilliant Tuscan artisan silversmith (more about him another time) on the other, at the launch of his 2019 collection.
Now, the good news is that the animal print party isn’t over, there are plenty of lovely new pieces out there for Spring and Summer. So, if you felt you missed out this winter, there’s still time to give it a try. Just don’t be subtle, go for a big statement print and then rock it for all it’s worth while it’s still ‘on trend.’