Monday, October 10, 2011

the "new" animal print

Forget leopard spots or zebra stripes. The new animal print is less sexy vixen and more shout out to geek chic. Ever since the ubiquitous Miu Miu swallow print entered the frame in 2010, swallow silhouettes have been rampant on anything from handbags (equally lovely) to giant platform shoes (insane!).

Of course with the trickle-down effect to the southern hemisphere, the swallows have infiltrated (and inundated) copycat looks over our winter 2011. But there’s a new print in town, and I suspect it’s not going to stop there.

In the same week, Kourtney K and newcomer (with a fabulous name I just want to keep saying) Jayma Mays were spotted wearing different, but much the same, horse print clothing. It’s casually cool, you’re not going to see it on the red carpet, but for street outings and, y’know, regular people, this is accessible fashion at its best.

It’s the amount of clear fabric or negative space that creates the relaxed look. All over prints can create an uptight, fussy feel, and I think that’s why they can be misread as tarty or NSFW. Whereas this is a look you could just as easily pull off tucked into a pencil skirt for the office as you could wearing it over pleather leggings for a night out. Adaptable fashion at its best.

Back in the day (actually just a few years ago, but how our lives can change in such a short time) my friend had this charming fitted coyboy shirt with blue and green (correct me if I’m wrong friend, you know the one I’m talking about) reindeer printed all over it. It was quirky and cute, and just so Her. About the same time I bought a Rip Curl or Billabong “vintage look” tee that had a similar deer pattern. (I say “vintage look” in quotes because it was this kind of off-white colour, fawny even, and was quite thin material, obvs made to look like you hadn’t just pulled it off the shelf at the nearest surf/skate shop. But my bf, then still in the wooing stages, asked me at a later date why I would wear a raggedy old top to his house for dinner when I had so many other “nicer” clothes. Read, he thought it looked like shit. So perhaps the vintage appeal wasn’t quite on the money) Anyway, these tops were completely different and I thought nothing of it at the time, but perhaps deer were the beast du jour.

Then there was owl sensationalism, gracing every necklace, purse, and t shirt in town. Don’t get me wrong, owls are freakishly cool things – they’re basically flying cats if you ask me – but the motif was SO overdone, it became reserved for unashamed fashion bashers such as teenage girls. Like a song you used to like, until they played it 100 times a day on the radio and then when your young friend asks you to turn it up you defiantly turn it off instead because you will not be associated with such popularity. This is why I don’t listen to the radio.

So! What will be next? I can’t see hippos becoming chic anytime soon. It seems it has to be some kind of beautiful and mysterious creature, gentle and kind with a touch of magic. Something Beatrix Potter-esque perhaps? I’d like to say foxes. And thanks to someone knowing my not-so-secret penchant for them, I will be well ahead of the game.

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