Year after year, I am fascinating with the “animalier” look, even when animal prints were not so much the vogue, I have always worn at least one item in those prints. I believe my attraction comes from the visual rhythm in the movement an animal pattern can imprint in my mind, more than the animal magnetism I might feel.
Animal prints can stir feelings of vulgarity, just as much as feelings of elegance. In the ‘50s the elevated elegance was to wear one or two strings of pearls around the neck and only one small garment in animal print, perhaps a bill box hat, a pair of gloves, or a pair of ballerina shoes and never all together.
Today, animal prints are over used and produced in all colors. Being aware of how to use or wear them will put us on the path of elegance. Animal prints when paired up with a sober look, will give an extra touch of highly seductive femininity. In fact, today the animalier prints are a symbol of high-class fashion, no longer for sexy bombshells that want to make a lasting impression. Ethno-chic and retro styles are the rage in this year 2011 fashion, just as much they have been in past collections.
Pop animal prints spotted in blue, green, or red (confess it, you have one of those too), are fun to wear, but bordering vulgarity is easy to do when the pop colored animal patterns are matched with sequins, bright shiny stuff, or with the wrong colors.
It is not good to mix or match all the prints together, just because they are the same theme or color. One of model wearing Giambattista Valli’s collection has the right color shoes, picking up two of the colors in her animal print dress, but the other model (right) wearing different tonality of zebra print in the dress and in the pochette portrays a confused and not very elegant look.
As an interior designer it happens often that I am attracted to animal prints in home décor.
If I am voluntarily breaking some accepted decoration rules is because I want to provoke and create some strong emotions, as I did when I designed the zebra ottoman for a woman with a strong personality and bold taste. It is not zebra skin, it is printed leather and it looks so real! The ottoman found its place in the client’s white bedroom with dark cherry wood paneling and grass fabric area rugs.
In my next interior the client is a young woman with a super traditional taste. It took a lot of convincing to mix a racamier seat dressed in animal print (foreground in the photo) in her very traditional living room furnishing. I wanted to lift the heaviness of the rest of the room by adding a new dimension with one contemporary piece and a contemporary throw rug. An extravagant piece, as she called it was too scary for her, but it turned out her favorite piece in the entire décor. I am glad she saw what I saw.
Animalier prints have conquered thousand of women because it is young, transgressive, elegant or….less pretentious; it is a good fit for any age, or in any décor and above all it is fun for any occasion.
I am here to help if you need to lift the image of an area in your home with animal magnetism. Ciao.
Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 and a former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and turn unattractive spaces into castles. Fashion designing has been her first career choice that made her happy in her own fashion company for fifteen years before settling in the interior designing business. Find her books on