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Leopard print; some of you may read that and imagine a perennially chic print which comes with a soupcon of exciting raciness, others will go straight to the tacky Bet Lynch reference.
A recent flurry of celebrity looks have been making the case for the former iteration of the forever-divisive pattern. Out for dinner in Hollywood on Monday evening, Joan Collins appeared glamorous yet modern in a leopard-print blazer which she teamed with of-the-moment split hem tailored black trousers and glittery heels, finished off with a swipe of crimson lipstick.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Tracee Ellis Ross posted shots on Instagram of herself wearing a vintage bodycon vintage leopard-print dress dating back to 1989, by the American designer Patrick Kelly - she looked phenomenal.
Leopard, with all its connotations of fun, sexiness and mischief couldn’t be more perfect for now. With party season upon us after more than a year of low-key socialising, feline spots conjure a sense of adventure and eccentricity whilst still feeling timeless and sophisticated - let’s not forget that Audrey Hepburn and the Queen both sported leopard in the 1950s and 1960s.
Here’s how to wear leopard now - and look more Hepburn, less Tiger King...
Jump on a jacket
Three of the chicest leopard outings of late have each involved a tailored jacket. While Collins paired hers with smart black trousers, Maye Musk (the model mother of Elon) combined hers with a full black tulle skirt - a lovely way to soften the style for party season - in a full Dior look at an event for the maison in Qatar.
Salma Hayek’s adventurous streak was on full display as she donned a full leopard suit in LA in October, a daring choice which she balanced out with a high-necked black blouse to keep the effect refined.
You may consider the combination of bodycon and leopard a little too Boohoo, but it’s really all in <how> you wear it. Tracee Ellis Ross’s way includes a pile of gold jewellery and minimal make-up (although do note the flicked feline eyeliner) while Lady Gaga recently embraced the vamp opportunity, teaming hers with a white leather Valentino handbag and a white manicure.
If wearing leopard clothes feels like it might be too much, pounce on accessories as your way into the look. Yasmin Le Bon offered a masterclass in this option at the Music Industry Trust Awards earlier this month; her emerald trousers, cream jacket, chartreuse blouse and red boots were given instant pizzazz with the addition of a leopard shoulder bag.
Layer it up
Sometimes all it takes is a subtle nod, so you could opt for a slinky leopard vest or shirt which can be layered under more neutral pieces for a less statement look. Tamara Beckwith’s formal take on this direction was a black tuxedo (appropriately, she was attending The Leopard Awards) while supermodel Candice Swanepoel teamed her unbutton leopard shirt with white jeans and a relaxed cream blazer for a casual take.
Go wild… the best leopard pieces to buy now:
Cross body bag, £155, Ganni (matchesfashion.com); Midi dress, £39.50, M&S (marksandspencer.com); Blazer, £59.99, Zara (zara.com); Shirt, £120, Rae Feather (raefeather.com); Silk dress, £295, Rixo (net-a-porter.com)