For the fashion-forward thinker, the Fourth of July signals the point at which summer clothes begin to drop in price, the whites and lighter weight clothing are pushed to the back of a department and fall colors begin to line the aisles.
Every year, I head to a department store to get an overview of the ready-to-wear offerings wondering if the animal print has faded to black. And every year there it is, in so many combinations of print-on-print it is indecipherable as any creature known to man.
This year, Ralph Lauren has a stunning full-on leopard dress and a new leopard bedding pattern. His dress stood out among the others because the cut was simple and refined. Lauren's bedding was an update, no doubt, to replace the safari sheets you've worn out from years of use as a complement to his paisleys and solids.
A classic is timeless and unforgettable. Does the use of leopard in Elvis' jungle room make the room a classic or an exercise in bad taste? It is surely unforgettable and timeless because he is the “King.”
When all Kardashians, New Jersey Housewives and their children are clothed in leopard prints of varying hues, has the print moved out of the realm of classic? Reality stars are hardly a flash in the pan; they license their names to a variety of consumer goods and the show goes on.
Monday, just as I pronounced animal prints to be too much of a good thing, a large Harley came toward me on Broadway Avenue. In truth, it was a spectacle worth seeing and was certainly unforgettable. Completely custom-painted in black and white zebra stripes, it stood out like no other. I enjoyed the experience.
In 1925, American film actress Marian Nixon was seen parading a pet leopard on a leash down Hollywood Boulevard. That, too, is an unforgettable image worth savoring.
As we move into the shakey design territory of print-on-print and the classic pattern becomes so bastardized the animal becomes unidentifiable, maybe we should we call a halt to it all, quit buying the hastily designed and produced and demand better.
Animal prints endure from year to year and are reinterpreted every season. As designers help us change our spots, they increasing rely on print designers before the draping or cutting of a garment even begins. With such attention to detail, the couture coming down the runway can only become more refined and the ready-to-wear more exciting.
The street-style dialogue between designer and customer is sure to keep variations on this theme coming. Let's look forward to being amazed and entertained from year to year.