|Fierce / Jo Weldon|
NY: HarperCollins, c2018
This energetic read is a fun introduction to leopard print in many area of fashion - from politician's wives to burlesque, from movie stars to goddesses of history. It's a smallish size, but heavy with glossy paper and tons of photos and images; even the cover is shiny and metallic. It's very visually appealing!
I enjoyed this one. The author writes well, in an entertaining style, but also compiles a lot of information on how leopard print appeared in society -- from Egyptian, Chinese or Aztec goddesses, on up to the current day. There is a nice balance of text and image in this book; often her statements are immediately supported by a photo or drawing. She refers to how leopard print is a symbol or signifier, from the far past up to the rock & roll era, as well as in burlesque and in cinema. There are lots of images of models and actresses in various forms of leopard print as well, which is always fascinating.
There was enough text to this book that you feel like you learned something, while enjoying the trip. But what makes this book particularly special, I think, is that the author opens the book with a classification of the many spotted cats that are included when people think of "leopard print" -- from leopards to cheetahs, jaguars, ocelots and more -- and differentiates between their spot patterns. And while doing this, she also talks about each species and how vulnerable it is to extinction currently. While she celebrates the print, she also strongly discourages wearing actual furs, noting that it's actually illegal in many places now to trade in the pelts of big cats. And the book closes with this note, again, and a listing of six different cat conservation organizations that you can explore to get involved with or donate to. This is an important element to mention so clearly, so I was impressed with the thoroughness of it.
If leopard print appeals to you at all, I think you'll enjoy this book and all its social history, plus the great fashion images and discussions. It's well organized, engaging, and just lots of fun to read.
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