Paisley – A Pattern in Perpetuity

60’s psychedelia all bubbly in pastels and acid tones, elegant gentlemens' scarves and pocket silks, finely woven wool shawls with intricate patterns in muted autumnal shades, luxurious eastern silks and common calicos, cowboy cotton neckerchiefs in navy or red………From the dizzying fashion heights of Pucci palazzo pants down to the humble pair of pyjamas………Paisley rules ok.

It is the most popular, versatile and enduring of patterns and has sat comfortably and securely in all the above settings across time and continents.

The ‘Boteh’ or ‘Buta’ motif originated in India and Persia possibly as far back as the 3rd century. It is believed to be a stylized form of leaf or sprouting bud. As the shape was adopted by different cultures its symbolism varied. In parts of India and Pakistan the shape is seen as related to the mango fruit, while in the west it has been known  as a teardrop, cone or pine and in the UK persian pickles and welsh pears!

In 19th Century, the British East India Company introduced to Britain hand-woven boteh motif shawls from Kashmir. These costly garments were treasured for their exoticism, craftsmanship and beauty. Increasing demand and technical advancements eventually led to the manufacture of reproductions at home.

With the acquisition of the jacquard loom, Paisley, a small town in Scotland undertook fast and cheap production of such shawls for the mass market. So successful was this approach that production elsewhere in England and Scotland was more or less eclipsed.  The pattern became synonymous with the town, hence we now have the paisley scarf rather than the norwich or edinburgh scarf.

Alongside animal prints, velvet, sequins and lurex, paisley is retro royalty and nowhere does it flourish more than on the scarf or shawl, the perfect canvas to showcase the infinite possibilities of this timeless pattern.




All the above scarves available in our online store at time of publication
Marshmallow Mountain recommends…………………
Amazing paisley prints and much more to be found in this UK based online store. I love these jazzy prints below by Patrick Moriarty.
All items below available on their website