Leopard is the most ubiquitous of the ‘big-cat’ animal prints, and the label generally applied to all creatures great and spotty including the ocelot, cheetah, and jaguar. What nature created as camouflage for wild beasts moving through the jungle’s dappled light, designers soon tamed into submission for their own patterning purposes. While the urge to surround ourselves with animal print may stem from a nostalgia for more primitive times when humans were hunters, it is in the versatility of their motifs – mimicking the distinctive natural markings of exotic species symbolic of wealth and status – that the key to their longevity lies. This talk offers a sartorial walk on the wild side.
MARGOT RILEY is a cultural historian with special interest in textiles and dress. From 1992-1994, she completed the Masters in Museum Studies Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and, since her return to Australia, has been working as a Curator with the collections of the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney. Her most recent talk at The Johnston Collection was DREAMING OF THE DEPARTED: Australian mourning portraits in 2016.
This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection.
image: The Swiss Photographic Studios, Sydney Dulcie Deamer in leopard skin costume [worn to the Artists Ball], Sydney, 1923 sepia toned silver gelatin photoprint courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Sydney (PXA 1609) image supplied and used with permission