As I’ve mentioned, probably more than once, this season is all about the classics. And that means: if ever there was an abundance of great fashion for the over-40 woman, it’s here and now. So many collections feature beautifully tailored, useful pieces that are timeless investments. As Daniela Agnelli, Style Director for the London Telegraph Magazine pronounced: “Fall 2010 is all about a proud and confident woman; the clothes are really wearable and easy to translate from the catwalk into a real life.”
Finally! And how to put a little fun into the mix of classic neutrals? The hot accent this season is leopard.
Now, it’s not as if leopard had ever fallen out of favor. But as Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz declared, it’s time to “take all these animal prints out of the jungle and into the city.”
The leader of the pack, in terms of extravagance, has to be this Balmain chain-embellished calf hair coat, which at over $20,000 is already out of stock. (Maybe it’s true that the luxury market is making a comeback.)
For the rest of us, though, no worries: there are many more financially feasible ways of seeing spots this season. As with camel, one of the most obvious is with outerwear. Many of us may initially fear this option as too bold a statement. But take a look at how effectively these designers have envisioned it.
One of my favorite designers, Phillip Lim, created this leopard print fur coat for his 3.1 line. While still a splurge item, it’s a mere fraction of the Balmain and is an elegant, timeless design that will look as good in two decades as it does today. Leopard may be the hot pattern this season, but it still qualifies as classic. Years from now, you or you daughter will be happy to pull this coat out of the closet again.
Adrienne Landau’s leopard printed rabbit vest, at a reasonable $350, would look fabulous over a thick turtleneck on a chilly day. For those of us who are non-fur buyers, Kate Spade’s adorable Galleria Lynda Fur Chubbie offers the same look in velvety faux fur. The cropped length and ¾-length sleeves ensure that it will look equally chic over a dress, as shown here, or over straight black slacks for that more casual Audrey-inspired look. But my favorite leopard outerwear piece is this fabulous velvet coat from Talbots. At $209.25, it can’t be beat. Talbots has made a huge push to reinvent itself, and now boasts many truly stylish pieces. If you prefer to wear your spots closer to the skin, dresses are a great option. From high to low price points, there are many choices. This subtly shaded Lanvin example is so elegant and flattering with its hint of ruching. And with the new Lanvin collection for H&M, I’m sure there will be leopard choices at throwaway price points. This Moschino Cheap and Chic option hits the spots in a black and gray palette, for a more monochromatic effect.
. . . almost every collection this season offered a leopard bag. And for those of us who don’t want to blow our entire clothing budget on one, I’m happy to report that other lines also have bags in this category as well. Either Coach at $298 (below left) or Talbots at $179 (below right) would be good alternatives.
So whether you want to make a major statement or give a passing nod, there are great options at every price point for a walk on the wild size this fashion season.
(To see even more photos of fashion- in-leopard, check out the photo album on WVFC’s Facebook page.)