Fashion is filled with prints with paradoxical connotations. Tartan evokes both Scottish heritage and London punk, nautical stripes the nonchalant chic of Chanel and the campy sailor boys of 90s Gaultier, polka dots perfect post war suburban housewives and the new romantic goth pop stylings of Strawberry Switchblade. Yet, out of all fashion’s perennial (and contradictory) patterned recycling’s, its leopard print that remains the most divisive. Simultaneously screaming ‘look at me’ yet also considered a ‘neutral,’ the spotted prints reputation has swung from sophisticated and well-heeled to tacky and trashy many times in the last century. And its leopard prints’ complicated symbolism that has made it a subversive favourite amongst cultures provocateurs.
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