East Village author and burlesque performer dives into the history of leopard print in latest book
(Photo by Bob Krasner)
“Leopard print has never gone out of style!” declares Jo Weldon.
She should know, having spent a few years researching and writing the delightful “Fierce: The History of Leopard Print”, a book packed with information and pictures of the fashion staple. Kings once forbade commoners to wear the skins. But the print has found its way to becoming a great equalizer, worn by femme fatales, supermodels, bombshells, Dior clients, pin-up models, presidents’ wives and, on occasion, the presidents’ girlfriends. On Sunday, Lucky – a bar on Avenue B – was filled with a fabulous assortment of women (and a few men) who happily surrounded Weldon with the sartorial elegance of her favorite print.
East Village resident Weldon, a veteran burlesque performer as well as a teacher of the art, notes that the leopard “is a charismatic animal that elicits a primal response,” adding that, “people will say things to you when you are wearing the print when they wouldn’t otherwise.” Such as, we wondered? “Like, ‘Wow lady!'”
The wow factor was acknowledged by floral designer Allison Manne, who said that she has “come to appreciate leopard because it can feel playful, sexy, funky and fierce all at once.” She added that, “I haven’t really worn it before, but I think I will be wearing it more now!”
Vintage clothing dealer Marie Suchan and her friend Abby Ehmann, owner of Lucky, were planning a winter clothing swap and discussing possible themes when they settled on an obvious neighborhood favorite and Ehmann naturally suggested that they invite Weldon. The author read from her book, answered questions and generally held forth on the many reasons why the print has remained so popular over the years.
“It’s a powerful animal that can’t be tamed,” she explained. “It’s very adaptable. They represent endurance and resilience. And the best part of the leopard print is……..it doesn’t show stains.”
Find out more about Jo Weldon on her website schoolofburlesque.com and follow her on Instagram @headmistressjo