Over the last weeks (and months), we have been introducing our new patterns, stencils, fabric designs, plus patterns from our newest book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Hands-down, our Paisley has been a favorite new design and I was excited to see that EcoSalon even did a feature on this iconic pattern last week. As we just finished a round of world-wide fashion weeks, we witnessed the classic paisley in some new interpretations.
Stella McCartney showed her own variation of the print for her Spring 2012 collection last month in London. In August of 2011, Sarah Mower writes for Vogue that, “It’s funny how widely paisley associations skew these days. One minute, the swirly, twirly, multicolored, originally Kashmiri pattern has you thinking about its establishment lineage (Hermès scarves, banker’s ties, aristocratic gentlemen’s smoking jackets); the next, it’s giving you Prince in the nineties (Paisley Park); and the one after, it’s sending you off into the haute hippie-ness of the seventies (Yves Saint Laurent’s Ballets Russes period, circa 1976).” The thing about paisley is that it crosses continents, eras, and fashion seasons. You will find it in the most conservative of fashion houses and also included in 1970s-inspired MOD-ish collections in 2012. It is a classic that hints at something wild, or untamed, but also refined. Perhaps that is why this particular pattern has survived the centuries?
Some have written that the paisley pattern was originally a fertility symbol and others believe that it is a symbol of eternity. If you let your imagination run wild, the tear-dropped shape could be interpreted as a stylized illustration for many things. I recently spent an afternoon perusing our library of textile design books for paisley inspirations. Here a few of my favorites: