Paisley- An evergreen pattern of Indian textiles

When we talk about patterns or prints woven on textiles, there are numerous works of art that are a pride of our heritage. Paisley design is one such print which has travelled seasons, boundaries and eras to withstand the volatile fashion sense and emerge out lovable and popular as ever. Resembling a tear drop or sometimes a mango, Paisley print is as hippie-inspired style as it is the darling of the catwalks of London and Milan fashion festivals. The enamour and adaptation of the print is wide owing to its arty bohemianism and sophistication.

Origin and history– The roots of the paisley print can be traced to its origin in Persia and India and has since then travelled the silk routes from east to west to become an emblem of swank and swagger. What a journey it has been from the conservative styles of the east to the flamboyant and hippie style of the west.  And now the Scottish city of Paisley whose textile history is intertwined with the famous print, is bidding to be UK City of Culture for 2021.

The symbolic statement-The symbolic power of this incredible print has probably played an important role in its popularism and longevity. The droplet like motif or Butah as it is called, is supposed to be a representation of a floral spray combined with a Cypress tree which is the Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity. In connection to the Hindu symbolism, the seed-like shape of the paisley print is thought to represent fertility. The print also bears an intriguing resemblance to the famous yin-yang symbol. The auspiciousness of the symbol across various traditions has marked its stature to what it is today.

The endorsement by celebrities- Oscar Wilde loved nothing more than to lounge in a silk paisley smoking jacket and cravat and so did his friends. With a resurgence of late attributed to The Beatles who ushered in the hippy era by wearing paisley bandanas, the swagger continues to dominate the fashion runways. Brands like Saint Laurent, Burberry and Gucci have long used the design in its menswear, especially in suit and jacket linings. Designers from Dolce and Gabbana and Raf Simons have used this print in womenswear giving new dimensions to the iconic motif.

The bold design and rich embellishment that goes with paisley prints are distinguished and unique in its own way. From the humble salwar suits to glamorous paisley print sares and glorious dupattas, paisley adorns all with a rich taste and passion. It is the aesthetic charm and sensual connotation associated with the paisley print that has helped retain its exquisite flair. The ethnic and western love alike for this pattern, it is notably the versatility of its usage that surprises pleasantly. Whether it is the luxurious Kashmiri shawls, the hippie bandanas, the formal tie, long skirts, formal blouses or the scintillating sarees, paisley is the love to call out for!