The highly graphic skins of wild animals evolved as a form of camouflage so that
they could blend in with their surroundings, yet they have been coopted by humans over
the last two centuries as a way of standing out. Animal prints evoke an exotic other that has become more mythical than real. Skins and drawing brought back to Europe by explorers symbolized an unknowable unknown—their stories of these animals stoking fear and curiosity. While all animal prints based on wild animals are encoded with this exoticism and mystique, it is the big cats who bring to their prints an element of danger—the beauty of the herbivore zebra and giraffe is eclipsed by the predatory sleekness of the leopard and cheetah. As a burlesque historian, Jo Weldon writes, “The
desire to dress like a dangerous animal has a specific intention to it that simply dressing like a pretty animal doesn’t convey… The print expresses the power they feel within or makes them feel armored against the power they may lack.”

Follow Laura on instagram here.