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Fashion

Love Animal Prints? Here's How To Rock It Without Looking Like An "Auntie"

The trick lies in choosing the most modern silhouettes and details.

From left: Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Max Mara, Tom Ford

Google leopard prints and fashion and you’d most likely end up with images of old Hollywood starlets like Gene Tierney, Bette Davis, and Louise Glaum, or women like Debbie Harry, Catherine Deneuve, and Audrey Hepburn. No shade intended, but there’s something disconcerting when the fashion references to a trendy look all centre around women of a certain vintage. Thankfully, the return of the leopard print — and, animal prints in general — have gone into an evolutionary state. There is the still the non-demure side of these prints which we love, but the patterns are now featured on more directional cuts and contemporary items.

We love how Raf Simons‘ ocelot coat at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC comes with such exaggerated shoulders, it looks almost like armour. Ditto Max Mara’s smokey leopard jacket in a boxy cut and worn with such nonchalance over a leather bomber, pencil skirt, and pants (yep, the styling at the Italian house for Fall is on point). Elsewhere, the leopard print springs up at Tom Ford in a multitude of acid hues on clothes that feel apropos to street gear. But the trend doesn’t just stop at just the big cats — Danish label Ganni showed some of the quirkiest ensembles festooned with zebra prints, while the same pattern given the rhinestone-studded treatment at Saint Laurent exudes after-hours glamour.

Here, we curate our own list of animal-print items that look far from dated.

Lurex shirt, $530, Alice + Olivia
Add some rock star glitz to your shirt with a metallic sheen. Leather pants recommended. Soft Berlin leather crossbody bag, $1,950, MCM
Carry this structured number as a top handle or sling it across your body — either way, it’ll make a handsome bag for casual days off. Ganni cotton jacket, U$228 (S$312), www.matchesfashion.com
Danish label Ganni is our go-to brand for statement prints and this quilted jacket doesn’t disappoint with its zebra stripes. Not to mention, pretty Victorian ruffles. Isabel Marant Beeka printed leather bucket bag, US$609 (S$833), www.net-a-porter.com
Roomy enough for your mobile phone, cardholder, and keys, this little number gets a pop treatment in a contrasting emerald green and topaz colourway. Ponyhair and rubber boots, 3.1 Phillip Lim
The zebra motif gives this rugged outdoorsy style a more delicate finish. Michael Kors Collection Eva wool, leather and ponyhair duffle, Michael Kors
Blend rustic tartan with brash leopard prints for an eclectic choice of accessory. Viscose-blend sweater, $660, Diane Von Furstenberg
For a muted take on loud leopard prints, this khaki green number will do the trick. Leather and ponyhair sandals, Dsquared2
Channel some devilish style when you walk in this pair of Western-inspired shoes. Coach 1941 leather crossbody bag, $950, Coach
There’s a romantic old-world charm about a tan leather bag that’s emblazoned with prints of insects. Silk shift dress, $5,160, www.alexandermcqueen.com
Fresh off the brand’s metamorphosis-themed Fall/Winter’18 show, this frock sports an abstract print of butterfly wings. An arty-meets-sophisticated number for that next cocktail party. Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello velvet platform boots with crystals, $9,150, Saint Laurent
You can’t deny the fabulous Ziggy Stardust effect with this whopper-sized platform boots, festooned with crystals. Cotton trenchcoat, Scotch & Soda
Give the classic trench coat a little more pizzazz in these cat spots. Satin pumps with crystals, Tom Ford
The unusual silhouette, the bejewelled kitten heels, and the Day-Glo colour scheme makes this pair of pumps hard not to spot. L'Agence silk crepe shirt dress, US$669 (S$915), www.net-a-porter.com
We love the versatility of this piece which can be worn as a dramatic duster jacket or maxi dress. Stretch fabric cuissard boots, Giuseppe Zanotti
The Italian shoe label’s racy take on the leopard print trend sees it creating this up-to-there piece. The va-va-voom factor is undeniable with this pair. Leather and ponyhair tote, Max Mara
Inject some evening glamour to your day bag with a smokey leopard print. It won’t scream for attention, but will still stand out. Prices unavailable unless stated.