Get inspired by nature this summer. Designer Cynthia Rowley presents some fun and outlandish animal print styles.
How has the use of animal prints changed over time? Where are we now with incorporating them into looks?
Animal prints have gone from being a motif specific to only a few designs to more of a mainstay. It's very cyclical, so it's a good thing to invest in. You should buy a little bit more expensive version because you know it will be back again. And at this point, animal prints have become kind of classic in a way. How it's changed right now is that dresses are the most important thing in fashion, so now we are seeing animal prints in dresses — pretty and feminine dresses in wild animal prints, which is a great contrast.
Are there any rules when wearing animal prints? Do's and dont's?
This is a risky trend. You can always sprinkle it in with an accessory, so you don't overdue it. In real life, the way to wear it is to keep the shape simple, and mix it with something solid. Animal prints are a huge trend coming up for fall and you are going to be able to buy animal prints at Bergdorf, Neiman Marcus and H&M, and the key is to invest in a good piece. You want to consider getting the expensive version or you may look tacky.
Also, don't mix too many prints. You don't want to turn into a zoo display or menagerie. Animal prints can go either way — you've seen grandmothers in Vegas wearing animal prints terribly or it can be really chic. The way to do it is to not mix the prints and keep the shape simple.
GiraffeWhen you think of animal print, you always think of leopard, maybe zebra, but giraffe is a fun, new animal print out there. Pair it with an ostrich bolero. Cream and black linen short shorts, $320, Moschino, Neiman Marcus; leopard bra, $450, Alessandro dell 'Aqua, 818 Madison Ave., 212-253-6861; top: black and white chiffon giraffe print blouse, $950, Alessandro dell 'Aqua; feather bolero, $3175, Alessandro dell 'Aqua, 818 Madison Ave.; belt: Kiki Montparnasse black patent leather and elastic corset, $250, Kiki Montparnasse, 212-965-8150, www.kikidm.com; black, white and red patent leather handbag, $498, Cynthia Rowley, 376 Bleecker St., 212-242-3803; gunmetal perforated black suede and metallic shoes, $585, Neiman Marcus
CheetahDresses are a huge trend in fashion now, and you can combine that trend with an animal print. To me this is a sweet, but sexy dress. It's naughty, but nice, and it's easy to accessorize in an over-the-top kind of way. Dress: Cynthia Rowley cheetah silk short dress with full sleeve, $500, Cynthia Rowley, 376 Bleecker St., 212-242-3803; feathered handbag with long metal chain, Cynthia Rowley; shoes: gunmetal, gold peep-toe platform ankle strap, $625, Saks Fifth Avenue
- Dress: Basso & Brooke blue feather print silk georgette one shoulder dress with beaded detail, $3495, Forty Five Ten, 214-559-4510
- Robe: Vintage blue silk with hand-painted leaves, $198, What Comes Around Goes Around, 212-343-9303
- Hat: Cynthia Rowley, unique and handmade blue silk flower, Cynthia Rowley, 376 Bleecker St., 212-242-3803
- Shoes: Leopard pumps, price upon request, Alessandro dell 'Aqua, 818 Madison Ave., 212-253-6861
- Dress: Cynthia Rowley pink silk empire waist dress, $600, Cynthia Rowley, 376 Bleecker St., 212-242-3803
- Belt: Gold and clear belt with butterfly applique, belt by Cynthia Rowley and butterflies from Tinsel Trading, $100, Cynthia Rowley
- Shoes: Caramel leather with high key color lariat knot straps, Cynthia Rowley
- Hat: Chapeau Chateau “Melba” feathers, $188, The Hat Shop, 120 Thompson St., 212-219-1445
Feathers are classic glamour, and can be a great replacement for fur! It's as safe as a black dress, but so much more glamorous. Feathers are great accessory items as well, and add dimension and movement to your look.
- Dress: Black silk taffeta gown with feathers, leather paillettes and Swarovski crystals, $4000, Sari Gueron, Barney's: 212-826-8900
All jewelry from Tiffany's, tiffany.com