Naturally I was pleased to see leopard print appearing in the collections of two Italian heavyweights, Salvatore Ferragamo and Sportmax, but I also noticed some other thematic similarities between the two, such as delving into other animal prints (specifically patent black coats with a croc or snake finish) and experimenting with painterly touches.
[Images via Style.com]. Ferragamo favoured soft leopard tailoring worn for high impact.
Sportmax opted for a brighter and more precise print, teamed with leather trims.
I love how differently the print has been interpreted by each designer, and how far removed the two central looks can be, with Ferragamo's 70s-style tan cape battling against the 90s slim-fit approach from Sportmax.
The power of applied volume and precisely placed belts is at hand.
Here, the belts are almost obi-style in thickness, cutting straight across the body and almost creating two separate canvases.
I think it's safe to assume that a belted patent black coat, to knee length or below, will be a staple purchase for A/W 2014 and beyond. Personally my favourite is Ferragamo's collarless minimalist number - it's neat and edgy.
A Fashionable Animal
Whatever the silhouette you're going for, Ferragamo has you covered.
Sportmax shows its full range of animal prints in action.
This is where the real trend-led pieces come in; the ones that are less classic and more instant fashion fixes. Enter high necks, puff sleeves, print skirts and other easy separates to pair with the rest of your wardrobe.
Painted leather, oil slick effects and bursts of colourful dye transform these looks.
Clear artistic inspiration from Jackson Pollock shaped the latter part of this collection.
It's interesting that both designers chose to combine animal prints with paintbrush effects, allowing them to push their collections in new directions, and that the end results continue to be so different. You'd hardly say that the watercolour-esque mustard lines of Salvatore Ferragamo were from the same school of thought as the Jackson Pollock splodges employed by Sportmax.
I suppose the uniting factor about these two ranges is fun; the prints are fun, the experimentation is fun, and the wearers are going to have the most fun of all.