08 December 2014


Animal print has probably always been in style in one form or another. Wearing the markings of jungle cats, zebra, giraffe, cow and reptiles is rooted in a atavistic yearning for our distant past, for a time when we were more connected with nature and depended more on our instincts, our animal senses, and our natural understanding of the wild environment. 
Animal prints are particularly alluring for us who live an air-conditioned existence, it's a sort of nostalgia for the time of caves and shamans and the colours of the wind. Perhaps this longing for the natural world is stitched into the threads of our genes, like a primeval ocean we can’t quite remember, yet whose undertow tugs on our subconscious hearts.

Azzedine Alaia design for Louis Vuitton
Animal prints entered fashion as a form of luxury and status. Throughout history, noblemen treasured animal patterns as they were exotic, and thereby wearing them was a sign of status. Traditionally, beautifully-marked animal skins were difficult to access, which meant that only the powerfully rich could afford them. A related aspect of this is that animal prints and skins were believed to convey a natural power to the wearer, like a sort of fashion homeopathy. Whatever its efficacy, not everyone has the prerequisite confidence to pull off animal print as they require an unabashed sense of self and an implied sexual accomplishment. Animal print advertises a feeling of “danger” as the one thing it isn’t is “safe.” Wear it, and you stand out from the crowd – and that is why animal print is often sold in small doses – not entire outfits. 

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