The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Leopard Print: A Century of Style and Struggle

By Sara Bright

the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The actress, who embodied the image of a refined and elegant lady, proved that leopard print can be sophisticated and chic.

The 1960s were the golden age of leopard print, as it became a symbol of glamour, sex appeal and rebellion. The print was worn by icons of pop culture, such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Jane Fonda. It was also embraced by rock stars, such as Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, who experimented with androgynous and flamboyant looks.

The print was also popular among the youth subcultures, such as the mods, the hippies and the punks, who used it to express their individuality and defiance of the mainstream. Leopard print was a way of challenging the norms of society, especially for women, who were expected to be modest and submissive. By wearing leopard print, they asserted their power, confidence and sexuality.

Feminist roar In the 1970s and 1980s, leopard print became associated with the disco and glam rock scenes, as well as the emerging feminist movement. The print was a statement of female empowerment, as women claimed their right to be bold, fierce and independent. Leopard print was also a sign of solidarity among women, who supported each other in their struggles for equality and liberation.

One of the most influential figures of this era was the singer and activist Grace Jones, who wore leopard print in her iconic album covers and performances. Jones was a pioneer of gender-bending and racial diversity, as she challenged the stereotypes of beauty, femininity and masculinity. She was also a vocal advocate for human rights, especially for the LGBTQ+ community and people of color.

Another influential figure was the artist and photographer Cindy Sherman, who used leopard print in her self-portraits, in which she explored the roles and identities of women in society. Sherman used leopard print as a tool of satire and critique, as she exposed the contradictions and pressures that women faced in the media, the art world and the patriarchy.

In the 1990s, leopard print became a symbol of girl power, as it was adopted by the Spice Girls, the most successful girl group of all time. The Spice Girls promoted a message of female friendship, fun and freedom, as they encouraged girls to be themselves and follow their dreams. Each member of the group had a distinct personality and style, but they all wore leopard print at some point, especially Scary Spice, who made it her signature look.

The Spice Girls inspired a generation of young women, who embraced leopard print as a way of expressing their confidence, creativity and individuality. Leopard print was also a way of celebrating diversity and inclusivity, as it was worn by women of different ages, races, sizes and backgrounds.

Leopard legacy Today, leopard print is still a popular and versatile trend, as it can be found in various forms and styles, from casual to formal, from classic to modern, from subtle to bold. Leopard print is also a way of honoring the legacy of the women who wore it before, who paved the way for the women of today.

Leopard print is more than just a fashion choice, it is a cultural phenomenon. It is a reflection of the history, the values and the aspirations of women, who have used it to express their identity, their personality and their attitude. Leopard print is a statement of strength, beauty and courage, as well as a celebration of femininity, sexuality and diversity.

Leopard print is not just a print, it is a way of life.