The Conflicting Life of Leopard Print

The original muse of leopard print, is naturally, the animal itself. Since its debut in the wild, many have borrowed its spots, from Egyptian queens to first ladies to the “tacky” and the “tawdry”.

Expressing both regality and camp, as well as sexuality and autonomy, it’s loved and loathed, but never ignored. A go-to pattern for lingerie and outerwear, latex dresses and Birkin bags, its only consistency can be found in its ambiguity.

Exotic pets were eccentric accessories at the turn of the twentieth century. Celebrities like Josephine Baker and Marian Nixon flaunted their sidekicks on city streets, exuding untouchable glamour. Later on, Jackie Kennedy legitimized the print after being spotted in a custom coat by Oleg Cassini, an unfortunate product of authentic leopard skin.

Josephine Baker

leopard coat

Shania Twain sported head-to-toe spots in the late ’90s as a discerning hitchhiker who sang of self-love. Prior, there was Peggy Bundy, the officiator in the marriage between leopard and spandex.



The list of iconic wearers is never-ending, with revolving personalities but unwavering power. It’s a garment for those unafraid of a spotlight, an individual that sings, “I will be seen, and I am not prey.” –  Jo Weldon

Today, leopard print is an amalgamation of its past lives. It exists in neon colors, is worn head-to-toe, and can be slipped on in an accessory as small as a barette. Regardless of its form, it’s prescribed as an immediate energy boost, a spring to a step that will forever be in fashion.

leopard print


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