Sorry Gingham, This Is the #1 Print Everyone's Wearing for Autumn

Elinor Block

Knowing how to wear animal print comes down to this one simple, unwritten rule: Treat it like any black item in your wardrobe. Yes, this might seem counterintuitive, considering that it's a print, but adding a little leopard to any outfit, like black, upgrades and harmonises a look. True, leopard print has often walked the line between flashy and luxurious, but it's been proven time and again that fashion girls can't resist it. And despite its ubiquity, its popularity began with one designer and his muse, more specifically, Christian Dior and Mitzah Bricard. Bricard was fascinated by leopard print, and as a result, during the 1950s, Dior created a range of his accessories featuring the design, elevating leopard to be the must-have print of the moment.

PHOTO:

Rex; PICTURED: Debbie Harry in 1979

From the '60s through to the '70s and '80s, leopard print was often associated with rock stars—but that wasn't a bad thing. Debbie Harry of Blondie wore it better than anyone else before. And there were plenty of other leopard-print champions, but perhaps none loved it as much as Jackie Collins, who reportedly said her biggest weakness was "wearing too much leopard print." (Although—is there ever such a thing?)

Nowadays, it's a classic for any closet. Across the whole of the fashion world—from the polished Olivia Palermo to Brit icon Alexa Chung—you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't own at least one standout animal-print piece. In 2017, there are plenty of fashionable ways to enjoy it. Keep scrolling for the 11 rules on how to wear leopard print this autumn and where to shop key pieces.

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