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by Sandy Glaze August 05, 2021

Worn by everyone from royalty to rock stars, we are hardly the first to deem leopard print a neutral necessity. What leopard print portrays varies greatly. Historically, the leopard pattern has been valued as a sign of taste, wealth, luxury, and sophistication. While some regard the print as kitschy and punk, according to the writer of "Fierce: The History of Leopard Print," Jo Weldon, all these labels are correct. Here are some fun historical facts about leopard print which explains why we designed a whole leopard print bedding collection around the rockin' rosettes!

  • Ancient Egyptian artisans crafted mock leopard-skin linens and furnishings for the pharaohs. 

    Elsie de Wolfe gold-painted stool covered in leopard.

  • Decorator Elsie de Wolfe popularized leopard print home decor in the 20th century. 

    On January 1, 1915, Wilma K. Russey became New York City’s first female taxi driver.

  • Prior to the 1930s, most clothing was made to order and expensive. People who were not wealthy had small, functional wardrobes that excluded them from the world of fashion. However, by the early 20th century, technical changes created cheaper, mass-produced material that became reasonably priced to the middle and lower classes.

    <img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1157/9808/files/Dior-leopard-ad_480x480.jpg?v=1628142670" alt="Christian Dior perfume advertisement,1949. Miss Dior illustration by René Gruau." />

  • The 1940s and 50s saw the arrival of animal print during the early stages of the women's movement. Pin-up girls and fashion models embraced the pattern, wearing decorated corsets, lingerie, dresses, and jackets. Pioneer Bettie Page famously modeled many self-made leopard print swimsuits.

    Bettie Page sewed her the leopard-print one-piece that she wore in this Bunny Yeager photograph.

    Bettie Page sewed her the leopard-print one-piece that she wore in this Bunny Yeager photograph.




  • By the 1960s, leopard prints were not just viewed as opulent but also as lavish and fun. Leopard prints began to go against the status quo. In 1966, the song "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" appeared on Bob Dylan's album Blonde on Blonde. The song was allegedly written about Edie Sedgwick, an icon of the '60s New York counterculture. 
  • The punk side of leopard print began to emerge in the 1970s and 80s. Rebellious music paired with a wild print gave the impression of being chic and dangerous. Iggy Pop famously appears shirtless in leather pants and an unzipped leopard jacket on the back cover of The Stooges' "Raw Power" album.

    Iggy Pop Search and Destroy Leopard Leather Jacket

    Debbie Harry slinked around coolly in the feline stamp. At the same time, musicians like Sid Vicious and Poison Ivy of The Cramps leered at their audiences while clad in leopard. 

    Poison Ivy of The Cramps in leopard.


  • In the 90s, leopard print was on the prowl, as demonstrated by everyone from fictional characters like Peg Bundy to supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

    Katy Sagal’s character “Peg Bundy” in “Married With Children”, 1987-1997.

    Cindy Crawford, Harper’s Bazaar, August 1992

Throughout all these decades, the motif was still embraced by the upper ranks of fashion and home decor. Perhaps our appreciation of the print relates to the animal itself: frightening yet admirable, irresistible, and savage. The leopard print makes a statement in all forms -- cosmopolitan, luxe, rebellious, and sexy. 

Joan Collins Leopard Home Decor
“My weakness is wearing too much leopard.” Joan Collins

Regardless of the prints' most recent cultural evolution, we find leopard print attractive and daring. Leopards themselves are independent, adaptable, and hard to tame. The fur pattern that helps these dangerous animals blend in is the same pattern that makes a fashionable person stand out. You may not be a predator while wearing leopard print, but you sure aren't prey. A leopard never changes its spots, and our love for them will be endless.

To see how this influence takes hold in our products, take a peek at our Leopard Bedding and Home Decor Collection!




Sandy Glaze
Sandy Glaze

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