Style Police: It's a jungle out there

Animal prints are loud and excessive this autumn. Think Bet Lynch on a bad day, says James Sherwood

Combat pants are disappearing faster than snow leopards in a Siegfried & Roy magic act. Rather like decommissioned squaddies, we reluctantly retired our utility uniforms this summer. Khaki cotton combats were just too regimented to work with the grab-bag exotica of the season. Now we're into autumn/winter and utility is finally extinct.

How quickly we forgot the once ubiquitous combat pant. It's the law of the fashion jungle. Instead of dressing like the hunter, designers are inspired by the hunted. Wild exotic animal print has devoured last year's dull khaki cotton.

Fashion has taken a leaf out of Jungle Book this season. Endangered species such as the leopard, tiger and zebra are de rigueur mortis. On the catwalk, Dolce & Gabbana gave us leopard-skin micro-mini skirts that wouldn't cover Mowgli's modesty. Versace skinned the big cat to cover mid-calf boots in tiger and Marni cut crop jackets and A-line skirts in zebra-print ponyskin. Wild animal print invariably stalks the autumn/winter season, but this time round it's a jungle out there.

Designers haven't tamed wild-animal print and used it as nothing more than a dash of exotica - at last they've gone the whole hog. Fash mag agony aunts are going to tell you to restrict animal print to little touches; a discreet zebra-print belt or minuscule leopard-skin bag. Nonsense. We're talking wild here so Style Police wants to see you roar. The message was loud and proud at Dolce & Gabbana when tigress Esther Canades vamped it up in leopard-print chiffon. It's not enough to buy Marni's ponyskin clogs and think you're on top of the trend. No, you want a pair of Gina's leopard- print ponyskin stillie ankle boots and to hell with it. Taste is not an issue here.

We all instinctively know leopard, tiger and zebra print are as vulgar as lap-dancing nights at Stringfellows. Animal hide is not bohemian or gypsy. It's Bet Lynch pulling a pint of milk stout behind the bar at The Rover's Return. It's Diana Dors wearing a mink bikini and reclining on a tiger-skin rug. It's Debbie Harry strutting round the stage after a couple of tequilas and belting out "Maria". Whether you're thinking chatty barmaid, Fifties streetwalker or ageing rock chick, wild-animal print takes no prisoners. If you want tasteful go to Jaeger.

How to wear it

August Vogue said it all with fashion editor Tina Laakkonen's Animal Magic shoot. Laakkonen clashed this season's searing blood-orange colours with a veritable zoo of animal pelts. Gina's snakeskin and zebra print ponyskin stillie ankle boots won the Style Police Vulgar as my Auntie Kay award. Fabulous.

Break yourself in with a pair of ponyskin print boots. Make sure they're to the knee if flat or mid-calf if stiletto. Clash it with a neat under- arm handbag. Then take it to the bridge with a piebald ponyskin A-line skirt. If you really want to work it then go for a skinny coat which stops on the knee.

A word of warning. In pictures, fake fur printed to ape an animal looks gorgeous. In real life, synthetic fake fur feels like a badger's underbelly. Fake fur doesn't give; it starts balding after the second outing and it looks totally tatty. Do you want to go there? Style Police urges you to just say no.

Where to buy it

There is one word only on your shoe shopping list: Gina. Hunt down the leopard print cowhide ankle boots (pounds 410). Kill for the snakeskin and pony numbers (pounds 445) by Gina Couture. Alternatively, just swing by the store for the best edit of zebra, tiger, leopard and dalmatian print boots, stiletto sandals and under-arm bags. Jimmy Choo's tiger-skin mid-calf boots (pounds 495) are definitely worth wrestling Johnny Weissmuller for.

Ponyskin doesn't come cheap. Some designers have literally skinned the odd palomino to get that authentic horsehair texture but all the boots Style Police are recommending come in cowhide. We particularly love Russell & Bromley's kitten-heeled zebra-print mid-calf boots (pounds 345) in cowhide. They go a treat with R&B's leopard-print handbag (pounds 175) which has the cutest Bet Lynch diamante buckle.

Don't worry if your calves are screaming "anything but boots". Diana Dors would have sold her mink bikini to buy LK Bennett's kitten-heeled leopard-skin slippers (pounds 169), or the Fifties stiletto-heeled zebra-skin pumps (pounds 169). The jury is still out on whether the high street can copy ponyskin A-line skirts or the skinny knee-length coats. If you simply can't wait for Top Shop's take on wild animal print pieces, then maybe you'd be tempted by Marni's zebra-skin A-line skirt for pounds 780. Then again, maybe not.

Address book

Gina (tel: 0171 409 7090). Jimmy Choo (tel: 0171 235 0242).

Russell & Bromley (tel: 0171 629 6903). LK Bennett (tel: 0171 491 3005).

Marni at Joseph (tel: 0171 823 9500).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

    £16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

    £19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

    Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor