On the wild side: the return of the big cat

No longer just for brash barmaids – leopard print is enjoying a renaissance. Spot on, says Emma Akbareian

Can a leopard ever change its spots? Well, the print has certainly achieved a reputational volte-face, having spent years battling off the association of some of television's most tarty barmaids (Bet Lynch, Liz McDonald and Kat Slater all favour the big cat print when pulling more than just pints). But, thanks to a concerted effort to rebrand, leopard has become a regular occurrence on runways and slowly made it into the most conservative of wardrobes.

Messrs Dolce and Gabbana are well known for their use of the print, but for autumn/winter it appeared extensively at Burberry Prorsum with coats, handbags and shoes by Christopher Bailey all sporting spots. The head-to-toe look is nothing if not a statement, however, so for a gentler take on the trend begin with accessories: a feline handbag, scarf or pair of shoes will pop when teamed with neutral basics.

Alternatively, opting for leopard print separates, such as a pencil skirt or fine gauge, round-neck sweater breaks the print into more manageable proportions. Come the new season proper, faking it is the only way to make it and Simone Rocha's faux fur coats are just the ticket.

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Photographer Claire Pepper

Stylist Emma Akbareian

Model Juliette at Models1

Hair and Makeup Camilla Hewitt using Nude Skincare & Bumble and Bumble

Photographer's assistant Ciaran Woolacombe