Leopard print. There is no denying our absolute, undying, everlasting love for all things leopard print here at Splendette. Bangles, check. Shirts, check. Coat, check. Underwear...maybe? But where did it all start? When did leopard print become the femme fatale signature that we all associate with Hollywood bombshells?
Well, it goes back a lot further than we initially think, but the message is always the same: I am powerful, hear me roar. There are depiction of the Ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom, Seshat, draped in leopard skins, an 8000 year old female figurine found at Çatalhöyük has her hand resting on a leopard, and in Chinese mythology the goddess Xi Wangmu has a leopard tail. In more modern times (I think we can count the 18th and 19th century as modern times in comparison!) leopard print became symbols of wealth and opulence, as well as power and wisdom.
Okay there is no denying that leopard print might have some other connotations now (nothing wrong with that, but I've lost count of how many times someone has yelled "alright Bet Lynch!"), but there is just something about it that will always make the wearer feel invincible. Yes, that did result in Joe Exotic, but it has also given us Earth Kitt, Mae West and Beyoncé. For a while, especially during the mid-century era, there was something rebellious about wearing leopard print. It was another part of that 1950s teenage movement that wanted to shake off the shackles of their parents' generation and usher in a whole new world. Their parents were probably aghast, attributing their tight, leopard print capri pants to loose morals and lustful evenings. The sex factor of leopard print has never really left pop culture since that moment.
Leopard print fashion has influenced designers from high end to high street. Dior used it as part of his iconic New Look in 1947, and is credited as the first designer to use the print rather than the fur itself. It was at this moment that the motif became accessible to the masses, and the rest is history. Frequently quoted as being a 'neutral', as it is bold enough to stand out on its own but also sits stunningly with almost every colour of the rainbow, leopard print fashions come back around time after time. Personally, I can't remember a time where I didn't have some element of leopard in my wardrobe!
It is only fitting that leopard print became one of Splendette's first designs. The famous Yellow Leopard Bangle joined the very first collection that Eeva ever designed. As it sits so beautifully alongside other colours, particularly red and black, the bangle proved to be a firm favourite and has never left the collection since. And then, in 2019, Eeva thought "why stop at yellow?". Yellow is of course the iconic colour, but fashion is all about expressing yourself and there is no better way to do that then through colour. First came Orange Leopard in the summer and then in autumn they were joined by a whole cacophony of colour. White Leopard is a firm fave in Splendette HQ, Jade Leopard looks so, so good clashing with pink tones, while Brown Leopard is an understated neutral way to add a little roar to a tropical stack.
There is no doubt that leopard print fashion is here to stay. Whether it's a little a little addition of a bangle here and there or if you go full on with a va-va-voom jumpsuit there is a leopard print for everyone. No matter what the future of fashion brings (or brings back around) there is one thing that will always feature, and that is our beloved leps.