With the season turning, it’s time to tweak your wardrobe. One of the major trends for Autumn-Winter is animal prints. Despite regular appearances on international ramps, they continue to be explored in newer ways every time.
However, artistic interpretations and digital reproductions of panther, zebra and tiger skins in contemporary, fluid fabrics are not the easiest to carry off. They require restraint, balance and careful accessorizing. Here are ways to style them.
Pair it with a monochrome
The simplest and most conventional way to get an animal print garment right is to pair it with a monochromatic separate. The easiest example of this is a leopard-print top with a black trouser or bottom. “An interpretation of animal skins is a strong piece only meant for the bold. It is essential to be careful when teaming it and it should ideally be paired with subtle pieces,” says designer Manish Arora, whose opulent, India-inspired last show at the Paris Fashion Week featured quirky animal motifs like lions and leopards. He paired his creations unconventionally and to good effect, including with sheer chiffon bottoms.
Out of the forest
“It is not necessary to stick to traditional jungle colours with this print. Animal prints are now reproduced in several other hues such as pink, blue, beige and black, widening the scope for styling. “Indian complexions usually do not complement wilder tones of this print. Pick a pastel version,” advises designer Pria Kataria Puri, who has frequently incorporated animal prints in her collections. You can also take a cue from pop diva Rihanna, who is often seen sporting colourful animal prints.
Sync your species
Don’t mix panther with tiger or zebra in one look. Choose one kind of print and once you know it works, you can even go bold and try a top-to-toe look. It can look stunning if you take away all the other accessories. Look at British designer Stella McCartney's interpretations for inspiration and then pick your favourite from high-street biggie Zara. Thumb rule: no accessories.
If you would rather not wear a print, try an animal print accessory instead. “Adapt the trend in minimal ways with an accessory like handbags, shoes or jewellery,” says designer Sanchita Ajjampur, whose brand sanchita creates numerous artistic renditions of animal skins. Barring that one accessory, keep the rest of your ensemble plain and simple.
Only tall and adventurous fashionistas should try this extreme tip. Try wearing a panther or zebra print with a striped skirt or another subtle print. Reference the Autumn/Winter 2013 catwalks of designers such as Dolce&Gabbana and Preen.