Fashion is a predatory passion. You hunt, you pounce, you consume. Leading the pack is easy when you channel a big cat in all its spotted, striped and sinewy glory. Leopard print ranks high among the most stylish for obvious reasons: the lean felines can sprint 35 miles-per-hour and fell animals twice their size, a mandatory skill when shopping a sample sale in the Capitol. But don’t discount jaguar, panther, tiger or even the lynx as inspirations when you suit up.
DO: Play mixologist, like rebel designer Jeremy Scott does, by pairing Bengal tiger stripes with ocelot or leopard spots. Contrast is key. To pull off interspecies patterns and prints, all you need is a sense of humor and a lion cub’s share of self-esteem. For a sly wink at the food chain, I like to wear zebra print skinny jeans with a leopard print silk blouse. Designer Christopher Kane favors a snow leopard’s look in icy grey, which clashes perfectly with the desert-hues of traditional cat prints.
DON’T: Meek cats finish last—or get stampeded!—so do not limit yourself to one animal print accessory like a clutch or a scarf. Such subtlety will never get you noticed or VIP access either. Instead, choose at least three like-minded animal accents such as Charlotte Olympia stilettos, oversized cuffs and a pair of sunglasses.
DARE: Take the look to dizzying heights by festooning your coif with a leopard’s rosette motif. At Jean Paul Gaultier’s recent couture show in Paris, the puckish designer had his models go carnivore from head to toe. Hair artist Odile Gilbert spray-painted spots on skyscraper updos and ladylike bouffants, juxtaposing whimsy with refinement.