Animal Prints Are This Season’s Wildest Trend

Calling all risk-takers, dog lovers, cat ladies, horse whisperers: these days, regular ol’ leopard print isn’t enough to suit our maximalist, embellishment-loving tastes. True, the classic pattern will always have its place on the runways. But with every passing season, more and more designers are side stepping animal prints and putting actual animals (and insects) on their pieces.

 The Pre-Fall 2018 collections were a literal zoo. Big cats stole the show at Givenchy, Stella McCartney and Valentino — who could forget the latter’s jungle-green, tiger-embellished jumpsuit? Gucci put twin Frenchies on a hot pink sweatshirt; Delpozo did painterly, parrot-inspired prints. At Oscar de la Renta, seagulls flocked, appearing on a shirtdress, a peplum tunic and an intarsia sweater. In keeping with the “summer at the seaside” theme, fish — or rather, fish bones — decorated a tulle gown (and dangled off ears).

We’re less than halfway through the fall collections and already the trend is picking up speed. This time around, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia expanded their menagerie to include deer, dogs, rabbits, monkeys, exotic birds and even unicorns, taking inspiration from Elizabethan “enchanted forest” tapestries. For Carolina Herrera’s final collection — creative director Wes Gordon will be taking her place — the baroness of evening wear showed whimsical wildcat prints in lieu of her signature florals. And at R13’s environmentalism-minded show, onlookers bird-watched by way of hoodies and long-sleeved tees.

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