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J’adore/ J’abhor

Leopard-print has come a LONG way from Bet Lynch's barmaid wardrobe. It's flipping everywhere now. But is it still chic? Cue an almighty rumble in the jungle with two Muddy staffers with very different views.

J’ADORE, says Rachel Jane, Muddy Berks editor

Take a walk on the wild side, because, there are trends and then there’s leopard print. It’s a look that’s transcended fashion to become a full-on movement. And us lovers of leopard, will claw your eyes out if you claim otherwise.

There’s no other print that’s comes close to being feminine, rock ‘n’ roll and universally flattering, all at the same time. Cast your eye around your local and you’ll clock a safari of big cat prints on show – cheetah, tiger and yes, the sleekest of them all: the leopard. I dipped my paw in (sorry) in the 90s with a pair of Gina heels I’d seen in a Madonna video. It was love at first sight and I never looked back. Now my wardrobe is a pride of leopard shoes, coats, skirts, bags, dresses and, as far as I am concerned, more is more. I’m ready to pounce on the sofa and recover it in this awesome spot, but my husband is having none of it. Grrrrrrr.

I’d love to say I’m not a mad cat lady, but our family has a history of our adoring feline friends. For naysayers who believe it looks – ahem – common, thank you Pat Butcher and Bet Lynch – I raise you Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Debbie Harry and Kate Moss. All glamour pusses with a passion for this perfect pattern. It’s a print that boosts your confidence (without the need for three double G&Ts), adds polish and a shot of sexiness without needing to flash any flesh or feel too try-hard.

While the leopard is using its spots to blend in, we’re all wearing it to stand out. Go wild, join the pack and wear leopard. It’s more than fashion, it’s a way of life.

 J’ABHOR says Kerry Potter, Muddy associate editor

I’m sorry but the animal magic has waned for me. It’s a view that makes me a pariah in the Muddy office, which regularly resembles Cotswold Safari Park, thanks to its pride of prowling leopard-print aficionados. So my esteemed colleagues will probably maul me to death for saying this but, as far as I’m concerned, the ubiquitous big cat print is OVER.

Like every other woman, I did succumb. I spent 85 percent of the last few years wearing a leopard-print wrap maxi skirt, white trainers with a leopard-print trim, leopard-print ankle boots, a leopard-print jumpsuit or one of several leopard print dresses. And then I got bored. The print that used to make you feel like a bit of sauce-pot; that used to make you stand out, now just makes you look like everyone else. Leopards have those spotted coats to blend in to their jungle habitat. Herein lies the problem for me.

I don’t discriminate against all animal prints – hey, I’m not some kind of monster. I will happily wear tiger, snake or zebra, especially if they come in an unexpected colour palette – pink and red, say – that makes the print look more abstract. But bog-standard, basic leopard? Been there, done that, bought far too many T-shirts.

Turns out it’s not just me. Looking ahead to the new season fashion trends, I don’t see a whole lotta leopard on the agenda. It feels like a palette cleanser is on the cards, with many designers referencing minimal ’90s styles in muted neutral shades. Come summer, all you big cats may become an endangered species, I’m afraid. But there is one print that we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming months, feels pleasingly fresh and is fast filling a leopard-shaped hole in my heart and closet – the polka dot. It seems a leopard-lover can changes her spots after all.



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