Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On the Radar -- Call of the Wild (pt.1)

Louis Vuitton, Fall 2012
I had another trend planned for On the Radar this week, but two things happened that changed my direction.  First, a fact -- the Blackbird girls are magazine junkies.  Our monthly subscriptions range from Country Living and Martha Stewart to Harper's Bazaar and Elle Decor.  And then we have the grocery store pick-ups.  So while watching an old Gene Kelly movie the other night, we pulled out our new magazines -- the beastly fall issues of Vogue, InStyle, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar.  The Vogue is over 900 pages!  As we started flipping through, we both happened to notice something.  EVERYBODY HAS LEOPARD PRINT THIS FALL.  It's everywhere!

That brings me to the second reason why I'm talking spots this week.  Last spring we bought 4 vintage leopard print scarves on a buying trip.  I found them all in the same box.  They've been posted in our Etsy shop for about 1 1/2 months.  But then, poof!  We sold all of them within the past two weeks.  I didn't make the connection until we saw the magazines.   Light bulb moment!

Brian Atwood, Fall 2012
The glamorous Dita Von Teese
Leopard print is like the Jekyll and Hyde of fashion:  it is the ultimate in sexiness, it can be incredibly chic, or it can go slutty in a heartbeat. In order to pull off leopard print, you need a luxe fabrication -- something that screams, "I AM QUALITY!"  Otherwise, you're going to look cheap and outdated.  Sorry, but that's a fact.

You also need to dial back the amount of leopard you add.  That's probably why our scarves are gone.  Just an accent -- the barest touch -- works for everybody.  If you go for all over leopard print, perhaps a dress, find a way to balance it with large fields of solid colors, like opaque tights or a jacket.  And for goodness' sake, don't mix your leopard spots! We're a fan of mixing patterns, but keep it to one animal print!

Sandro, Fall 2012
There are ways you can have fun with leopard print.  Changing the scale or repeat of the pattern is a great way to modernize the look.  Designers are deconstructing and abstracting the patterns, and many have started to change the colors, taking leopard from natural to eye popping.  It's even showing up in makeup:
Dior, Fall 2012

Here are some photos to inspire you:

The divine Mrs. Robinson, Anne Bancroft in The Graduate
Ralph Lauren, Fall 2012
I'm sorry to say we don't have anything available in our Etsy shop of the leopard print variety.  Everything's been snatched up.  But check out Etsy for great vintage finds to add to your fall wardrobe from the hundreds of other awesome vintage dealers.  I particularly loved these from Melissa Joy Vintage:

Leopard Shoes by MelissaJoyVintage on Etsy

And the same rules apply for decorating your home with leopard print.  Here's a room I went crazy over:


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