This is kind of random, but I never thought the day would come that I would actually voluntarily buy something with a leopard print on it. I’ve always found it to be super tacky. But these days I’m totally loving it! Especially when its printed on calf hair. Very chic! Here are a few great products that have been majorly tempting me lately.
One thing that’s been driving me crazy as I’ve been shopping around – designers never seem to know the difference between a leopard and cheetah. They almost always use these names interchangeably when naming their prints! As a print designer AND as an animal lover, this drives me absolutely nuts! Let’s clear things up a bit, shall we? The following photos and descriptions will hopefully give you a better idea of which is which (along with a couple other wild cats that I’ve seen in prints, but are never acknowledged!)
First, the cheetah. I’m definitely a cat lady, and cheetahs happen to be my favorite big cat. Their spots are solid black dots, evenly spaced. The Emerson Fry coat pictured above is a great example of a cheetah print! Although, I do think they took some liberties and made the ground color more white.
Leopards, on the other hand, have more complex spots. They tend to look like a black doughnut, horseshoe, or ring of dots. There is usually a brown spot in the center of the black ring. This pattern is probably the most common type of spotted cat used in prints for clothing and accessories. The Madewell shoes in the photo above are a great example of leopard!
I don’t think I’ve even seen a designer name their print after the jaguar, but I have definitely seen this animal used on prints before. Jaguar spots are very similar to leopard spots, but they tend to have a larger, more open ring of black spots. The brown spot in the middle is much larger than that of a leopard and contains a few smaller black spots in the middle. Its sort of like a more complex leopard spot. Above, the Alexander Wang bag just might be a jaguar print!
And finally, another neglected spotted cat is the ocelot. I’m sure designers shy away from using this name since it is much less well known to the general public. Ocelots also have spots that are similar to leopards and jaguars, but theirs are much more elongated. They almost look like they are stretched out, or warped. Like conjoined leopard spots, or some sort of spot/stripe hybrid. Anyway, These are beautiful cats and I’m pretty sure that the Jcrew bag above features an ocelot print.
Well, hopefully this was educational. I could go into much more detail about differences in body build and behavior, but focusing on the spots is what is important in the fashion world. At work I recently named one of my prints at work, “jaguar.” Hopefully it makes it into stores with that name intact!