EtroThe Art of Paisley, the palm that bloomed over time.
The Paisley pattern has played a central and undisputed leading role in Etro’s identity, and proves to be a constant source of vision and beauty.
During London Craft Week I visited renowned fashion house Etro, which was showcasing the journey of the Art of Paisley. The event revealed how the tale begins with the sketch and how the artistic composition techniques, colour scheme and style are used to create Paisley. It was a fascinating and insightful experience, but it’s the story behind this decoration that truly captivated my attention.
This is a tale packed with passion, a love of beauty, and respect for tradition and craftsmanship. It’s the story of an ancient decoration, a story of a palm that bloomed over time and gave life and light to every season it inspired with its magic.
It all began in 1968 when Gimmo Etro established his own prêt-a-porter and haute couture textile company; he had a passion for fabrics that has always been at the forefront of the business. Gimmo was an avid traveller, not only due to his work, but also for his love of culture. His fabrics oozed the colours and impressions of these voyages, whilst maintaining a traditional quality through pattern, and adding a contemporary twist through daring colours and innovative combinations.
It was on one of these journeys that the brand found its essence. A trip to India inspired the textiles line to make its debut with a first collection based on Paisley, an ancient design born in Mesopotamia where it symbolized the shoot of the date palm, which represented the tree of life. The pattern was used on exquisite hand-woven Indian fabrics and was later adopted for the use on shawls of nineteenth-century women.
For decades Gimmo Etro collected rare antique scarves and shawls, captivated by their singular patterns, meticulous workmanship and immaculate detail. Etro’s archive includes a collection of hundreds of these antique shawls and cashmeres ranging from eighteenth century India, France and England, as well as vast historical archives home furnishing fabrics, exotic textiles, Italian prints and books from Africa, Asia and South America. The family collection of nineteenth century shawls inspired a new design icon for the brand: the Etro Paisley.
Etro began to experiment with the classical floral pattern, and in 1984, after much technological exploration, Paisley became the fundamental theme of all subsequent collections. The rich, playful design comprised of red, turquoise, yellow, olive green and ivory, became the signature design for the collection and a House-icon, which immediately invoked the luxury world of Etro.