A few weeks ago, my French friend messaged me after reading a story on Parisian style that included a leopard-print skirt by Réalisation. "Emma," she write, "I love your stories, but I'm sorry. French women would never wear leopard print. Not even Lou Doillon." Leopard print is one of the key trends for fall 2018, but is this a trend that the French crowd is destined to bypass?
After some googling, I discovered that Lou Doillon has, in fact, worn leopard print—favoring coats, blouses, and cardigans in the print. Brigitte Bardot had a soft spot for a leopard-print coat, it is a signature of Paris Vogue's former editor Carine Roitfeld, and Caroline Maigret has worn leopard blouses with jeans.
It seems French women will wear leopard print—just not the leopard denim, bold leopard dresses. and colorful leopard that's all over Topshop this month. The key is to keep the rest simple, pairing it with either head-to-toe black or jeans and a simple cardigan. "French women stick to only small touches, with a side of a bag or a hood of a coat, in leopard print. Otherwise, it's trashy," my Parisian friend tells me.
Brigitte Bardot in a leopard-print coat.
Carine Roitfeld in a leopard-print jacket.
Emmanuelle Alt in a leopard-print coat.
A deep dive on Instagram confirms that French influencers are already adopting autumn's key trend—and below are the five ways the Parisian fashion set is wearing leopard right now. Hint: It's subtler than the head-to-toe safari looks you'll spot every day in London.
1. Leopard Ankle Boots
Style Notes: Sézane is about as Parisian as it gets, and Margaux, who works at the brand, often wears the heeled leopard ankle boots with her cropped flared jeans.
2. Leopard Camisole
Style Notes: Jeanne Damas has been wearing a silky leopard camisole as a subtle nod to the trend.
3. Leopard Trousers
Style Notes: Adenorah looks ever so Parisian in her cropped leopard trousers paired with a red cardigan and two-tone pumps.
4. Leopard Swimsuit
Style Notes: The French influencer crowd has been wearing a lot of leopard-print swimwear this summer. We love how Jeanne Damas balances her leopard one-piece with a white lace blouse as a cover-up.
5. Leopard Blouse
Style Notes: The French are known for wearing leopard-print blouses with classic items like blue jeans and a straw handbag. When it comes to a print this loud, you really don't need a whole lot else.