I, for one, am happy to wear fur – especially rabbit which is lovely and soft. I enjoy eating rabbit too, and although I like to see little bunnies running around in the country I do not feel there is any, in principle, difference between leather, sheepskin and fur. On the other hand giraffe fur, zebra or leopard is neither widely available and probably protected so you won’t be seeing it used in my dressmaking projects. However there is something very compelling about the patterning on wild animals that textile designers have captured again and again. Usually we find in nature the most wonderful, harmonious colour palettes, gorgeous colour graduation, markings which increase and decrease in scale (depending on where on the body they are).
As well as looking lovely these animals are well camouflaged which helps them to hunt effectively, or protect them from predators.
The advantages of natural skins and furs are
- they are strong and weather resistant, which is why they composed mankinds first clothes and adornment
- fur reflect light and will enhance your skin. This is really why women (when it wasn’t politically confused) used to demand “a mink coat”.
- they tend to work well with both neutrals and colours making them a good wardrobe staple – shoes, belts and handbags are almost always in fashion.
Much more affordable, and available today, is the animal print. Here are a few style suggestions:
Firstly get the colour right. Just as with your primary colour direction, there are patterns which fit the same set of definitions. There are animal prints which are deep, and others which are light, those with cool undertones, and others which are warm. There are brighter designs, and designs which are muted. Choose an animal print which co-ordinates with your natural colouring. But, in general most natural colouring in wild animals is yellowy and warm so watch out if you have a cool palette.
Secondly get the scale right. If you are petite stick to a small pattern, like a snake skin or a small leopard type print. Larger women can get away with a large pattern which will look better – the tiger and bigger giraffe patterns perhaps. And also take care where you wear it. Alot of it – a coat, dress or trousers will make a big statement – ideal if you have a dramatic personality. But if you are more a classic dresser, for example, it might be better to have use it as just one, retrained wardrobe item.
For many of us it might be better to stick to details – a scarf, handbag or shoes. Here are some nice accessories that would look especially beautiful on people with warmer colouring.
The fabric chosen for me by Demented Fairy includes white (much whiter than is shown here), black and blue, so a cool, bright colourway. The scale is medium, so suitable for someone my height and build. And I could use it on either the upper or lower half, but I have decided to make an all in one jumpsuit, as I find bolder patterns work better on me when I use them head to toe.