To see the best runway examples of this trend, we suggest checking out the Balenciaga Pre-Fall 11 collection and the Marc by Marc Jacobs F/W 11 show. At the former, we spotted one animal-graphic piece--a German Shepherd-emblazoned Cashmere Sweater ($925, 212.206.0872)--that designer Nicolas Ghesquière paired with a Wool and Silk Skirt ($765, 212.206.0872), Leather Belt ($575, similar styles available at 212.206.0872), and Bronze Leather Stilettos ($675, 212.206.0872). While Ghesquière limited himself to a single item, Marc Jacobs designed numerous animal pieces for the Marc by Marc F/W 11 show. Our favorite look, as seen in the large image above, centers on the Panthera Lurex Jacquard Skirt ($358, available at Marc by Marc Jacobs stores) in Normandy Blue Multi and is accented with the Bellini Stripe Blouse ($428, available at Neiman Marcus soon) and the Airmail Suede Clutch ($328, available at Shopbop.com soon) in Log Cabin. Additionally, Jacobs showed deer-emblazoned bags on the runway, though sadly these purses were not produced. It's worth noting that both collections styled the animal-instinct pieces the same way: with streamlined, dark separates that use texture (sheer details, nubby fabric) to add interest.
Off the runways, we've noticed that most fashion-forward dressers are wearing these animal-festooned items in slightly more playful ways. For example, one of our favorite editors--Taylor Tomasi Hill, Marie Claire's Style and Accessories Director--was snapped during NYFW a few months ago wearing a subtle take on this trend. She paired a Burberry Prorsum Cashmere Sweater with Embroidered Cow Detail ($2195, 212.407.7100) with a Sportmax collar and a vintage Fenton skirt, resulting in a sleek and chic look. About a month later Liv Tyler also tried the trend, this time in Paris at the Givenchy F/W 11 show. The stunning actress selected two pieces from the Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci F/W 11 menswear collection, specifically the Rottweiler Printed Sweatshirt ($440) and Smocking Jacket ($2915, available at Barneys New York soon).
In addition to these darker neutral pieces, we also appreciate the lighter animal-instinct items seen on Mary-Kate Olsen and model Le Call. The former was snapped leaving Nobu in Tribeca last month wearing a vintage sweater with an oversized fox print, leather leggings by The Row, and a Marni bag. The sweater is such an interesting choice and its gigantic graphics give Olsen's whole look a touch of humor. We also appreciate the Deyrolle Pour Opening Ceremony Long Skirt ($280) in Cat Sand that Le Call picked for a Byrdie Bell-hosted lunch celebrating NAHM, a collection by Alexandria Hilfiger and Nary Manivong. Since the print is obviously the centerpiece of the outfit, Le Call wisely opted for a simple, bisque sweater--purchased at the Brooklyn Flea Market--and understated accessories.
In the hopes that you, too, might be ready to pounce on this trend, we've gone ahead and rounded up a handful of animal-instinct items for your shopping pleasure. The easiest way to try this look is to go for a sweater or t-shirt with a single, oversized graphic, like Marcus Lupfer's Giraffe Sequin Sweater ($553), Stella McCartney's Printed Cotton Sweater ($265), or Forever 21's Chalkboard Zebra Top ($13). If you'd prefer a top with a smaller print, check out BCBGeneration's A-Line Shirred Elephant Print Tank ($88) and Topshop's Cream Cat Print Oversize Shirt ($76). (We also like the Two by Two Scarf ($95) from Kate Spade.) Or if you're not feeling like buying clothes, you can go for some animal accessories instead, like By Paige's Fox Loafers ($149.95) or Courtney Simmelkjaer's Elephant Pendant ($92). Whatever you pick up, know that this trend will stay strong through autumn, so you're making a smart and chic shopping decision!
Photo of Le Call, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photos of Liv Tyler and Mary-Kate Olsen, courtesy of Splash; Balenciaga runway photo, courtesy of Balenciaga; Marc by Marc backstage photo, courtesy of First View; Marc by Marc Jacobs runway photo, courtesy of KCD