Leopard print has been in and out of fashion for centuries, with its popularity waxing and waning depending on the trends of the time. Today, leopard print is once again experiencing a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to its starring role in Netflix's hit fashion show "Emily in Paris." But where did this iconic print come from? Let's take a quick walk through the history of leopard print fashion.
Leopard print first became popular in Western fashion during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was often photographed wearing garments made from the exotic skin of leopards killed by British hunters in Africa. The queen's endorsement helped to make leopard skin a coveted status symbol among the upper classes, and it wasn't long before enterprising designers began creating prints that mimicked the spots of the leopard. By the early 20th century, these prints had become hugely popular, appearing on everything from evening gowns to hats to shoes.
Leopard print fell out of favour during the 1920s and 1930s, when fashion became more streamlined and less ornate. It made a brief comeback during World War II, when furs and other luxury fabrics were in short supply due to rationing; printed fabric was seen as a more affordable alternative. After the war, leopard print continued to be popular among Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. In recent years, it has been embraced by fashion icons like Kate Moss and Rihanna.