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Fashion tracks

Tigers and zebras and leopards were all over the fashion runways when designers trotted out their 2011 collections in New York last February. Not the animals, of course, but animal prints went wild in everything from coats to eveningwear.

Animal prints aren't new, but this year you'll see even more than in the past few seasons.

David Wolfe, a New York-based trends consultant for the Donegar Group, says the current success of animal prints is the result of a "perfect storm."

"It satisfies so many concurrent fashion desires," he said. "It's glamorous (think movie starlets), it's an homage to endangered species (since it's not the real fur), it pays tribute to nature and it's in rich neutral colors that are so saleable and flattering. It's a win-win-win."

Perhaps more prevalent than ever are animal-print accessories. Shoes, handbags, wallets, boots, belts and hair accessories are available in a myriad of animal prints.

Shoe designer Donald J. Pliner says he added leopard prints to some of his styles in an effort to "include trends of today while staying true to my vision for that season."

"Incorporating these trends is an easy way to add a modern touch to a classic look," he says. When you don't want to don a garment of animal print, just add touches of it to update what you have already in your fall wardrobe, Pliner says.

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