Animal prints are an essential part of the fashion lexicon. Back in the day, spots and scales had a dubious reputation — but this season they’re small, quiet, and set against a backdrop of royal blue, green and noir, making it a lot more sophisticated.
Designer Aditi Somani points out that animal and bird motifs have been a favourite with Indian craftsmen since centuries. A closer look at Indian art reveals that when these motifs have been used in fine arts, they have a deeper meaning attached to them (representation of a temple, gods and goddesses, etc). And when the same birds and animals have been employed in decorative arts, they reflect the worldly environment devoid of any ideated meaning. “An interesting thing about this season’s animal-inspired fashion is animal motifs on a sari. I think it’s catching up and we will be seeing a lot of it. Motifs of elephants or deer are the most common these days and these have found their way into all kinds of saris from Ikat to Kanjeevaram.”
Besides these, she says one can watch out for kantha embroidery depicting animals and birds along with motifs inspired by cave art, Egyptian murals, Hindu mythology and even pop art illustrations.”
Celebrity stylist Rupa Chourasia agrees. “I think animal motifs have reigned in the Indian art circuit including Indian fashion. Their usage in garments, I believe, mostly came into the picture since the Mughal era when the zari work or zardozi became popular.”
However, style gurus say that animal print can never be tamed completely, but there are many ways you can bend its power to your will. Do accentuate it: if you want to put a focus on the pattern, you should keep the rest of your outfit subdued. Treat it like any black item in your wardrobe. The animal pattern will stand out without being overpowered and fading into the background.
Be subtle: animal prints are easy to find, but if you’re looking into freshening it up, start looking for animal patterns in hazy neutral shades. Never mix prints.
The prints will completely compete with each other, ultimately resulting in a total messiness. Whether it’s clothing, a pair of shoes or purse, experiment with your items, but be sure not to overdo it. That means no bright colours. Learn how to strike a balance with your items and note that when it comes to animal print, sometimes less is more.
Designer Manav Gangwani, who recently showcased his India @ 70 collection at the India Couture Week, had several animal and bird-inspired motifs from lions, elephants to peacocks. “Animal motifs have been a crucial part of couture. Other than making the garment visually appealing, it adds to the overall charm reflecting an epitome of royalty.”...