Mention paisley in these parts and folks think of Prince and his recording study-Paisley Park. It was a nod to the paisley pattern and its connection to rock and roll and Prince’s musical history.
The pattern is rooted in antiquity and exotic fabrics adorning royalty-originating in Persia in about 200 AD. It has been compared to a curved teardrop, a curving flower with leaves and a stem and was called by early American quilters the Persian Pickle.
Through history, paisley has enjoyed the status of “must have” accessory for notable names: Napoleon brought Josephine numerous shawls with the paisley design, and it can be found in shawls in paintings of that period. England was the first to capture the design in a copyright-one of the first copyrights in the creative world of fabric. Once the pattern was mass-produced, it lost a bit of its allure as a status symbol. And then the Beatles went to India! They embraced everything the exotic country had to offer-its philosophy, religion, culture, food and that ancient symbol of success-paisley.
Now the elegant swirls and patterns were associated with rebellion, and the hip icons of the time, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones adorned themselves regularly with paisley patterned clothing. Any self-respecting hippy had a handful of paisley shirts and wraps. And, then, wouldn’t you know, it took a turn for the worse and that lovely accessory, the bandana, become the go to look for anyone wanting to identify with a gang-such a fall from grace from the glory days of bandanas protecting hard-working cowboys using it as a face mask on the dusty plains. Well, I guess the bandana was used as a mask when a cowboy went to dark side and decided to rob a bank….
At 2010 Winter Olympics, paisley once again made the news-the tiny team of very brave and self-secure athletes from Azerbaijan sported paisley pants:
I feel a little like a rock star sleeping on my grey, black and white paisley sheets. Or a hippy. Or a world-class athlete. Or a princess. Or a hoodlum…..oh, my!!
Do you own anything paisley – anything?