The History of Animal Print, An Exotic Past Revealed

Written by Tiffany Tolliver

Exotic, bold, and mysterious animal prints have captivated us for centuries as they convey a sense of power.  Kings and queens of the past used animal skin rugs and decorative skins to communicate desired exotic qualities, power, and authority.  

Fabrics resembling skins decorated elite men and women of society as early as the 18th century in Europe.  Unique incorporation of animal prints was recorded through timeless paintings capturing the fashion of the day.  

The film industry has also played an important role in the influence of animal print in first fashion and then the home.  The first film to do this in the 20th century was “Tarzan the Apeman” in 1932 through the animal print costume designs for the set.  Subsequently, stars boldly wrapped themselves and their homes in leopard and cheetah print fabrics which then sauntered down through the rest of society

Designer Rudi Gernreich incorporated animal prints into his costume designs for the movies Basic Black and Mrs. Robinson in 1968.  Immediately following, these designs increased in popularity in the 70’s and the 80’s.  

Even the renowned Dominico Dolce and Stafano Gabbana of Dolce and Gabbana became known for their signature animal prints in their designer lines.    

Today animal prints and skins play an important role in fashion and home design.  Stay tuned for our next animal print blog covering the unique ways skins are being incorporated into today’s interiors. 

Check out some of the animal prints we have selected for you below.