Snake is slith­er­ing back into style

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFASHION -

WASHINGTON: Cleopa­tra made the snake a fash­ion sym­bol back in BC Egypt, sport­ing a sa­cred co­bra on her di­a­dem – and in leg­end, us­ing one to off her­self.

In the 1970s, “Texas cow­boys wore rat­tlesnake boots, and it sig­nalled tri­umph over ad­ver­sity”, says Jan­ice Ellinwood, chair of Mary­mount Univer­sity’s depart­ment of fash­ion de­sign and mer­chan­dis­ing. The rep­tile has slith­ered back into style, both on ac­tual snake­skin ac­ces­sories (pumps, purses, jew­ellery) and on knitwear, dresses and skirts in scaled-yet-lush prints re­call­ing the hides of every­thing from ana­con­das to water moc­casins.

“It’s a non-print print,” says Betsy Fisher, owner of the Washington bou­tique that bears her name. She’s car­ry­ing a range of ser­pen­tine pieces, in­clud­ing Ted Rossi’s re­gal, rocker-ish python­skin rings, cuffs and neck­laces.

“Snake­skin is a neu­tral that’s rich and warm, but fresher than the cat prints we’ve seen,” she says. “It can even be a nice way of show­ing an affin­ity with na­ture.”

The bib­li­cal trou­ble Eve had with a ser­pent and an ap­ple, and some peo­ple’s ophid­io­pho­bia (fear of snakes) means that the mot­tled pat­tern car­ries a bit of dan­ger and edge. “It’s got a sense of tough­ness, since snakes are such sur­vivors,” says Kather­ine Li­mon, owner of the Washington eco-bou­tique Car­bon.

Yet, too many rep­til­ian pieces can be overkill. Stick to one scaly piece at a time.

“I like a cream sweater dress with a pair of snake­skin booties,” says Li­mon.

If you do walk too far over to the wild side, change is just a mat­ter of shed­ding some skin. – The Washington Post

PIC­TURE: THE WASHINGTON POST

REP­TIL­IAN: A faux snake obi by Karen Zam­bos and a Kate Spade python-print leather hand­bag.

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