Thursday, May 05, 2005

Paisley with Etro

Paisley is a droplet-shaped vegetal motif, similar to half of the T'ai Chi symbol, the Indian bodhi tree leaf, or the mango tree. The design originated in India and spread to Scotland when British soldiers brought home cashmere shawls. From roughly 1800 to 1850, using Jacquard looms, the women of the town of Paisley, Scotland adapted the design and wove woolen shawls, hence the design is popularly known as the Paisley pattern. Changes in fashion led to the demise of the shawl bringing hardship to the weavers in Scotland and the originators in Kashmir.
The shape has been widely adopted since then. Although the influence is not clear, the Turkish
tughra calligraphic seal strongly resembles the paisley shape. Some design scholars call the distinct shape boteh and believe it is the convergence of a stylized floral spray and a cypress tree -- a Zoroastrian symbol of death and eternity.
Retrieved from "

Etro, the purveyor of crazy bohemian fashion, delivers a collection of paisley items this Spring with a selection of apparel and accessories with the aforementioned pattern, but this time, reconstructed with glitter and colour to fit the neo-flower girl.

From the Etro runway, there were a few paisley print items which were adorned with glitter and sequins. The paisley patterns were individually arranged and placed upon deconstructed floaty fabrics.

A paisley babydoll
A paisley bias-cut skirt

The Etro apparel at Neiman Marcus however, were quite different. They had more chaotic arrangements and instead of the party-girl glitter, the paisley were bling-free but were coloured shades of pastel instead.

A paisley shirtdress, Ombre paisley dress

Paisley jacket and bikini

They also had a small selection of paisley printed bags, but with a different style than their apparel. The paisley patterns on the bags were dark-colored and grand, with a renaissance-isque feel. They clashed interestingly with the uber colourful bright handles, signature of Etro's crazy and fun theme. The pattern reminds me of those monograms on designer handbags, but thankfully, these don't scream out the label neither are they annoyingly in-your-face.

And even the belts don the comma-shaped pattern, with lavish sequins and whimsical and ethnic designs.

Whilst paisley isn't a trend per se this spring, it falls roughly into the whole boho print category which everyone is talking about. I like that Etro has thrown the traditional girly paisley out of the window (almost, at least) and reinvented and re-interpreted the pattern into one that is bold and exudes attitude. Yes, paisley with attitude.