Summer is well and truly over and we're switching focus to our autumn wardrobe, which means a plethora of sumptuous fabrics and finishes like velvet, corduroy and sequins. We’re waving goodbye to the bold, bright florals that saw us through the heatwave – at Ganni’s most recent Copenhagen Fashion Week show, there wasn’t a botanical in sight – and welcoming back a punchy, statement-making favourite: animal print.
While it would be fair to argue that animal print never really went away, this season sees more niche contenders like snakeskin, tiger and zebra print challenge the ever-classic leopard for the top spot. And it’s not just natural colourways that are grabbing our attention: there’s acid yellow snake, electric blue tiger, and lime green zebra to consider. "The strongest and most prevalent trend for AW18 is animal prints and not any one in particular – they are officially neutrals and every woman needs an animal-printed piece of outerwear for starters," Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matches Fashion explains.
At AW18 in February, Victoria Beckham stole the show with her belted leopard-print trench coat, which was inspired by super heavy Venetian upholstery fabric and fashioned from chenille jacquard. Over the past few years, the likes of Shrimps and Alexachung have treated us to teddy and faux fur animal-print coats but Beckham’s more elevated fabric brought a slice of the ‘70s to 2018, leading the way for an exotic animal revival.
From Gucci’s Mrs Robinson-inspired coat and matching pillbox hat to Dolce & Gabbana’s head-to-toe looks, leopard print – in particular, a strong coat or jacket – is an investment piece that feels both enduring and contemporary. We won’t be stopping there, though. Zebra print, a formerly garish relic of the '80s, returned with wearable force this season, with designers like Adam Selman, Balenciaga and Zadig & Voltaire turning out the black and white stripes on the catwalk.
For us, though, it’s colour that counts, and Roberto Cavalli’s deep red zebra coat and Prada’s yellow zebra jacket are inspiring our outerwear this autumn. Snakeskin, too, is more vivid in colour this season; yellow, orange and green lead the way. The print screams '70s rock 'n' roll but electric shades give it a thoroughly modern refresh – just look to Marni's half black, half green belted jacket, or Collina Strada's baby blue number.
The high street, too, is awash with animal print this season, meaning you’re spoiled for choice. From Zara’s high-shine snake jacket and trousers co-ord to Topshop’s zebra tote, you can go head-to-toe or simply dip into the trend. Whether you stick to timeless pieces or embrace wilder colourways, animal print will remain at the top of the
food fashion chain for quite some time.