Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pattern - Leopard vs. Cheetah

You know I don't get all preachy on here, but I'm going to get a little preachy today.  I'm not trying to be hateful, I'm just trying to be helpful.  I'm a fabric designer, a designer that deals with a lot of prints and patterns.  And this makes me so anal about terminology , I'm anal because getting a placement depends on the proper communication of what is desired by a customer.  Or on a more practical level, what I'm looking for when I go shopping for clothes/shoes/home furnishings.  Lately there have been a slew of missteps when it comes to what is labeled as "leopard print".  I'll see things that are obviously not leopard print being labeled as "leopard print" (like one snakeskin print jacket recently - really?) but more often than not I'll see a cheetah print being labeled as "leopard".  While they are similar, they are not alike.  A quick big cat lesson:

First up - the leopard (snoozing in a tree - aren't cats all the same on some level? They love to get their nap on.)
Leopards have the distinctive spots that are known as "rosettes".  Tan ground, black spots surrounding a darker brown spot.

 Next is the jaguar - has the same rosette spots as a leopard
Basically, interchangeable with a leopard print.  Work it, you jaguar, you!  Meow!

Lastly - the cheetah (aka the fastest land animal)
The cheetah has a tan ground with just black spots - I would say like an almost irregular polka dot.  None of that third color rosette stuff.

Here are some examples of the patterns out in the retail world:


 While I love them both, I'm a bit partial to the leopard because of that third color that adds a little more depth and sophistication.  Now both of these patterns can be used as neutrals and make for outstanding additions to your wardrobe (I always encourage everyone to own a pair of leopard shoes).

What do you think?  Do you prefer Leopard or Cheetah?

Images of the cats via National Geographic

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