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Paul Galvin: It's prints charming

From animals to fruits and camouflage, prints are one trend that won't go away -- much to the chagrin of Paul Galvin, who wonders why men aren't allowed to wear leopard print

It's prints charming

From animals to fruits and camouflage, prints are one trend that won't go away -- much to the chagrin of Paul Galvin, who wonders why men aren't allowed to wear leopard print

This week, folks, I'm following the boss's orders. The editor has instructed me to write a piece about Prince.

Being excellent at taking instruction, I am only delighted to do so. No more writing about whatever I want. No more tangential, ad libbing where I see fit.

No more humouring myself. This is serious. The editor is not a woman you want to disappoint. No sir and no ma'am. I'm determined to impress her.

I was a little surprised at first, I admit, but, when I thought about it, it made perfect sense. The history of Prince is an interesting one.

Such things interest me. Life stories, histories. That might sound weird to some. Maybe it is. But this is Prince, after all.

You can't deny the guy has had an interesting life. Colourful. And hey, what a catalogue of songs. 'Raspberry Beret', 'Purple Rain', 'Kiss'. All time classics.

"What's that, Ed? Not Prince. Prints. You meant the history of prints.... P-R-I-N-T-S."

Aaaaah, I see. Shucks. Blew that one. Ah well, the history of prints is an altogether different story, though interesting nonetheless. I'll do my best.

The history of prints goes back to the days of primitive man. And primitive woman, mind you.

Animal furs were worn for warmth and protection. You wouldn't wear them today, of course. Wearing furs today would be very bad for your own protection.

The first signs of animal prints being worn were seen in the 1940s, during the women's liberation movement.

Leopard print was the king of all prints. Bettie Page wore leopard and cheetah prints. Christian Dior was one of the first designers to embrace animal prints in the 1950s.

Today, leopards are only part of the story. We have a whole zoo now. The whole cat family, zebras, giraffes, dogs, birds of paradise, monkeys.

Safaris have been the inspiration behind many a collection. Accessories in leopard print are everywhere.

Historically, such prints were symbols of wealth among kings and aristocracy and as such were rare. Now, it seems everyone has a piece.

Not content with the animal world for prints, designers raided the jungle, too. Fruit prints have come and gone. Banana prints? Why anyone would want to walk around looking like a banana tree is beyond the reaches of my mind, and I possess a pretty far-reaching mind.

Prada is responsible for that one. Miuccia has obviously been watching 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' in her spare time. Pineapple and palm-tree dresses were born on the show a few weeks back.

I wish I could say pineapple and palm-tree-print dresses, but no, they were polystyrene pineapples and palm leaves.

I'm waiting patiently for vegetables to have their day in the sun. Turnip print anyone?

I'm not a fan of prints in general. Paisley deserves a mention for its iconic place in fashion history. The Mods owned Carnaby Street wearing paisley in the 1960s and they were good craic by the sounds of it.

I own one or two Fair Isle-print jumpers. The knits are rugged and masculine enough for men to pull off and some of the patterns look good.

I have debated a few times with the ladies in my life the merits of leopard print for men.

Why, I ask, is it so wrong? Kanye has worn it, the LMFAO boys wear it, Fred Flintstone wore it, yet time and again women tell me leopard print is for girls. I disagree.

Devil may care, DJ, photographer and Fucknfilthy.com creator Joshua Gordon ain't afraid of no leopard print. Subtle leopard print, mind you.

A man's favourite print has to be camouflage, and browsing Fucknfilthy.com I spotted Nick Wooster's shoe collaboration with Leffot.

Nick is the men's fashion director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman in the States and something of a style icon, too. He loves a little camouflage print, does Nick.

Blazers, ties, shoes. Nothing can not be disguised. The collection, if two pairs of shoes can qualify as such, features camouflage-print brogues. Talk about two tribes going to war.

Smart, well-heeled brogues in dirty camouflage print? It shouldn't work but it does.

Armani's spring/summer 2012 collection featured camouflage-print blazers. I don't like camouflage blazers and I can't disguise it.

So there's a brief history of prints.

Before I go, the guardian in me is at pains to point out that there is a wild distinction between wearing animal prints and animal fur.

One is okay to wear, the other is not. For faux sake, don't mix them up.

Weekend Magazine