Wild Thing – the Intriguing History of Animal Prints

Categories: Fashion, Shopping By Severine Kaiser

COVER article Don’t you dare thinking animal prints are only a trend! Probably every girl has an item with a wild print in her wardrobe, right? But it would be interesting to know where they come from. The biggest fashionista knows maybe how to wear them, but probably she doesn’t know anything about their history.

Once upon a time… The prehistoy. Remember, our ancestors were using the animal skins, furs and leathers as a protection, useful against the cold. Animal skins were also used for ceremonial events and ritual dances. Many centuries later, animal prints had another purpose: showing your status. They are synoyms of wealth, power and aristocracy. They can be compared to mounted animals which were kept as trophies.

BETTIE PAGE & MITZAHIn the 1940s, during World War II, the Pin-up girls appeared and became the new American Icons. Among them, Bettie Page: one of the most iconic, known for her risky fetish photography. The Jungle Bettie photographs are showing her posing in a short leopard dress surrounded by cheetahs. Mitzah Bricard (Christian Dior’s muse) was an enthusiastic supporter of animal prints. This influenced Dior, who designed the 1947 spring-summer collection using animal prints (it is also said that it is the first one to use leopard as a print instead of fur with the dresses “Jungle” and “Afrique”).

MARILYN BRIGITTE BLONDIEThe 50s and 60s were particularly marked: remember the celebrities wearing animal prints, such as Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress. A decenny later, they took another path: with the punk rock movement and idols like Blondie, they become even more dangerous!

DESIGNERS JLOAnimal prints are still present on catwalks, beginning with fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, who began during the 70s and whose main characteristic is the use of such motives. He’s closely followed by Betsey Johnson, Blumarine and Prada. There are also a lot of celebrities wearing these prints during glamorous events, such as Jennifer Lopez.

You see, animal prints are timeless, so a Must-have item in your wardrobe! But, why do we enjoy animal patterns so much? It’s simple: they give us a wild and exotic touch, and somehow we look more self-confident and sophisticated. And as fashion designers always come up with new ideas, it gives us… well, a designer appeal;)

Wow, we are really inspired now… You too, but your wardrobe is missing some wild prints? Fortunately, you’ll find some incredible stuff in our Animalier Collection >>

collection animal