Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Paisley

Resembling a twisted teardrop, a paisley originated from the countries of India and Iran.  The motif has roots in Hinduism and also was used for royalty in the Persian culture.  Handblock printed textiles imported from the East India Company in the 17th Century brought the design to Eastern Europe.  Europe began mass producing paisleys in printing techniques in the 1640s.

In the town of Paisley, Scotland in the 19th century, weavers began replicating the design.  From roughly 1800 to 1850, the weavers became the foremost producers of shawls replicated from India. Unique additions to their handlooms and Jacquard looms permitted them to work in five colors when most weavers were producing paisley using only two.  The shawl became known as Paisley pattern from the city it was being produced. Then the name stuck with the design over the years.

Paisleys have had a resurgence over the decades.  They became popular in the 1960s with the influence of the Beatles and the psychedelic era. Paisleys have also been used in traditional folkloric looks and references to spirituality. On the runway for Fall 2012, Nanette Lepore, Giambattista Valli, Stella McCartney, and Chanel have all used paisleys as a key design element in their collections.  Paisleys are a great accent in the home.

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