Margarita Saplala Specializes in Unusual Animal Prints

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Photo: Courtesy of Margarita Saplala

After seeing leopard print done every which way — from sexy and bold to muted and romantic — animal prints have become a cyclical classic. For her fall 2010 collection, designer Margarita Saplala took a different approach. “I wanted to do non-traditional animal prints — elephant skin, alligator, and fur in a playful color palette,” she says. “The colors draw you in, but don't strike you as an animal print right away.” The label’s fluid silk dresses and palazzo pants are standouts, marked by made-you-look designs in lush hues.

The Chicago transplant graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago a decade ago and found steady work designing for corporate brands like Gap, Banana Republic, and Guess. She launched her eponymous label in 2006, steering away from overdone florals into edgier block and tropical prints. She created an exclusive collection for Barneys last season, and now her fall and spring lines are stocked at A.Cheng, Sucre, Dear Fieldbinder, and Helianthus. Click ahead to see more from her latest collections.