June 25, 2018

Five Fun Facts About Leopard Print

Leopard hidden in the trees

Leopard print is an all-time favourite amongst fashion designers, interior decorators and an important wardrobe staple for the modern woman.

But I’m sure these Five Fun Facts we’ll share with you about leopard print are things you’ve never heard of!

1. Camouflage

Can you spot the leopard in the image featured in this post? In everyday life a person dressed in leopard print definitely makes a statement and attracts attention. But did you know that in nature leopard print is meant to function as a camouflage! The spotted pattern is designed to blend in rather than stand out: the main goal is for the animal to hide from its predators as they move around in their natural environment, or while they are on the hunt themselves, making sure they are camouflaged for their prey.

The pattern is very successful, you can see similar prints on several fish, frogs, insects and other big cats.

2. Tacky versus Power

In Western culture we often see leopard print as tacky, we think we know someone's social status or see it as a statement about sexual availability. How contradictory this often is for the wearer of leopard print. More and more we see that the people interpret leopard print as a sign of power and self-confidence.

This is the same for more ‘primitive’ cultures were wearing leopard print can stand for patriarchal power and will only be worn during special ceremonies.

3. Trophy wife

In the fifties the classic leopard print fur coat made its way to western fashion. This fur coat stood for being a ‘trophy wife’.

Luckily the anti-fur movement that was formed in the late sixties started to put and end to wearing leopard fur as a trophy.


Leopard print by Gianni Versace, a vintage coat and leopard fashion

4. In and out of Vogue

The spotted pattern has gone from high-fashion to low-class and back again over the years. Over the past century leopard has fluctuated from being a sign of taste and wealth to the opposite, for characters like the Dutch Nel Veerkamp or Fran Drescher's character in The Nanny.

One fashion designer who knew how to perfectly nail this balance between the wealth and tacky aspect of leopard print was Gianni Versace. His use of the print was elegant and stylish, and his designs worn by well respected women.

5. New Look - Christian Dior

French fashion designer Christian Dior knew just how to empower women right after World War II. He introduced his ’New Look’ designs, which were all about sharp shoulders, nipped waists and large voluminous skirts.

Simultaneously he launched a fragrance ‘Miss Dior’ which is promoted with the image of a delicate ladies-hand on top of a leopard paw, using the catch-phrase: “If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it”.

Perfume campaign image from Dior