I Wish This Were Endangered

Cavalli NM dress

Theresa sent this in as an example of a fauxlero, which it might be, but it's also an example of the kind of dress that makes me wince. It's Cavalli, of course, who is the King of Wince as far as I'm concerned, but I'm sure I would be just as flinchy if it were Calvin Klein.

I know a lot of people love them and that they're sometimes considered kicky and retro and cool, but I just Don't Get animal prints. I feel like they are altogether too much like work; either you have to BE the leopard-print-wearing sexpot implied by your dress, or you have to be constantly elbowing everyone in the metaphorical ribs, saying "Get it? Get it? I'm playing with notions of sexuality (or class, or whatever). Grrr."

Of course, there are scores of things that I don't especially like that many other people enjoy immensely: bananas, Larry David, and the "music" of Rush come immediately to mind. And the number of things that I like that other people can't stand are also legion: the color orange, smelling like a box of Good & Plentys, extremely vulgar and palindromic hip-hop, liverwurst. De gustibus, and all that.

So every time I feel the urge to issue some kind of sartorial fiat, declaring animal prints (or sweatpants with "Juicy" written across the butt, or that godawful David Yurman jewelry) non grata, I think — "Wait a minute, what if someone out there loves lycra tiger stripes as much — or more — than I love liverwurst? Who am I to begrudge them their happiness?" So I don't.

I still wish Cavalli would retire, though. Hasn't the man done enough? (Although, come to think of it, this isn't bad …)

0 thoughts on “I Wish This Were Endangered

  1. I have to agree with Goldilocks. Not all animal prints are created equally. I happen to love leopard prints, but about 99.385% of them (most often the ones that are contemporary, rather than vintage) are completely wrong. They don’t do a good job at assigning the colors and the prints are all a mess of blobular shapes that are usually too small, too self-conscious, and just “off.”I notice this kitty gone bad sydrome particularly when looking at handbags and shoes with animal prints. I think there ought to be some realism to an animal print. My favorite I ever saw was a trench coat (vintage 70s) that was made of some sort of satin finish rayon. It had completely classic trench coat styling. Of course, where the heck is anyone going to wear that? But really, there are a lot of bad animal prints out there (I’m of the mind that this dress isn’t even animal-esque at all.) I completely agree with Cookie–“Small touches of leopard (like Mrs. Robinson’s pillbox hat, or on the lapels and cuffs of a suit) are neat. It can also make for very fun lingerie. If I were going to wear leopard all over, I’d want to go all the way and have it be some Norman Norrell sheath made out of shimmering sequins.” And wasn’t Anne Bancroft’s slip and bra in leopard print (probably Vanity Fair) just the best?!Add me to the list of concerned people wondering “What up with Cavalli?” I have never understood the appeal.If I may, I’d like to proffer this for any animal print lovers. If it were my size, I’d definitely wear it to a party, but never during the daytime. http://tinyurl.com/64c6hh


  2. Doesn’t Anne Bancroft also have a pony print slip in The Graduate? I’m a selective animal print wearer – I have a Ceil Chapman leopard jumpsuit that’s just total boy-seducer wear, but truly, I wore it to work on Halloween, as Mrs. Robinson!Mostly I keep my animal prints to handbags, coats, and dog beds. It works out well!


  3. To me, animal prints celebrate the wearing of real animal skins. So, they tend to turn me off since I feel, along with wundermary, that ‘animal prints look better where they belong’. I don’t eat meat from the flesh of my fellow beings, either. But if this sounds preachy, I don’t mean it to be! I mean it about how I live in the world, and not how others do.That said, I must take you to task about the bananas, Erin! How can you not like bananas! I mean, *really*!I do love orange, ‘though I look better in a sweeter, softer version of it than others might. Also love those stop-just-above-the-elbow sleeves.


  4. Not being a jewelry wearer, I had to look up David Yurman. While it looks like any old crap from Sears, it doesn’t offend me.WHY would anyone want writing on her butt? Why? Why?


  5. This is a wonderful blog. I really enjoy your posts.I hope you don’t mind my making this comment. If you dislike requests, then please ignore it.I wonder if you might make a particular post sometime? You write so often about your love of pockets that it seems likely you know lots about them.I’m just learning to make them, and I don’t know much.I know there are different types, but I don’t know much about what they’re called, or their history or common uses.Anything you might post on any of these topics would have a very keen and grateful reader in me, and possibly in many others.Whether you do this or not, thank you for your excellent blog.Maire


  6. So, so true. My mother occasionally pulls out animal prints and I wince every time, precisely because the reasons you cited above would never even occur to her.


  7. I agree with others, I would have not thought “tiger stripe” in connection with that dress until it was mentioned. I do like the lines of the dress.I don’t wear animal prints myself, ever, but on others, there are some that look good, and some that look trashy. In the “look good” camp are the small touches like collars and trim.


  8. That’s one of the least offensive animal prints I’ve ever seen. 99.8% of the time, I think they’re tacky. Sometimes it’s oblivious I-have-more-money-than-taste tacky, or intentional drag-queen tacky, but virtually always tacky.


  9. I also love MC Paul Barman, but have nothing against that dress. I’m in the camp of “looks more like foliage than skin”.


  10. Just this weekend I had one of those nightmare moments where a well-meaning sister in law said “I thought this was really you,” and handed me a leopard-print stretch sleeveless tee, with a vee neck and black lace. First I thought: Blech! And then I was depressed that she thought I’d wear the garment, which frightened me just to look at. I guess I’m the “sassy” SIL, but “sassy” and “stretch animal print with lace” are not the same thing. Witness, I have never worn an animal print before. Now I have to find something that’s “really her” to exact my petty revenge!


  11. If you ever get a chance (like being in Sak’s or Neiman Marcus), seek out the Cavalli group. His fabrics are to die for–the weight, hand and surfaces are amazing, and the prints far outclass the copies that seek to imitate but never succeed.


  12. [Raises hand]Actually, leopard is my favorite colour. I have leopard in skirts, a dress, and a jacket; I have leopard in silk, in gauze, in velvet, and in plush!However, in exchange for all your leopard, I will gladly deed you all my Good ‘N Plenty, which nauseates me. Ditto liverwurst. Ditto – HIP HOP? Really? OK, ditto hip-hop. Chacon au son leopard!


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