gwyneth paltrow, talented mr ripley, leopard print, leopard print coat and hat, smoking, cigarette

I can’t walk away from leopard print

Say what you want but I will not be walking away from leopard print any time soon. Or ever, actually.

On one hand, I recognise that it’s quite hard-faced pub landlady. On the other, it’s Kate Moss, Britt Eckland, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Edie Sedgwick, *gestures broadly* all the cool women you can think of.

One of my first forays into the sartorial animal kingdom was a snow leopard print skirt because of Scary Spice (only because I couldn’t find a leopard print catsuit like the one she wore to the Brits). I felt devilish and unpredictable, which is not a thing you find yourself saying often when you are from Richmond.

I am now so finely tuned to leopard print anything (I say that but it has to be the ‘right’ print – hard to describe, but a thing nonetheless) that sometimes I can feel myself being pulled into it, like the Millennium Falcon caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam. I have leopard print heels, flats, boots, tops, trousers, scarves, jumpers, a coat, those stick-on nail varnish stickers that you seal on with a hairdryer. Even, rather satisfyingly, underwear. Trashy? Sometimes.

Leopard print manages to be both Jackie Collins and Jackie O. It’s not really possible to be prim in leopard print. There you are in your normal jeans and your normal t-shirt, being normal, until you put on your leopard print coat and become a bit, you know, Big Cat. A bit like you could suddenly be married to a Rolling Stone and living in exile in the South of France in the Seventies.

These days my wardrobe is a sort of zoo. And I’m pleased with that state of affairs. Like me it’s wild but not in the wild, you see. Civilised. But with potential…

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