Saturday, 19 April 2014

Paisley Prints ... The Storied Icons of Etro

From Asia to Europe, paisley is no stranger to the textile landscape, gracing embroideries and prints across the oceans and seas. 

In the days when Mesopotamia civilisation flourished, the droplet-shaped paisleys were often seen as the symbol of the seed to the ‘tree of life’.

In Kashmir, back in the time when the Mughal kings reigned supreme, shawls drenched in paisley patterns were offered as gifts to the Great Mogul, eventually passed down from one generation to another. 

Even in the Southeast Asia region, paisley prints are ubiquitously featured on batik cloths, richly saturated in bold colours – probably brought to this region by the ancient Indian seafarers and traders.  

The historic association of paisley ― a print of Asian heritage named after a Scottish town ― with the house of Etro came about in 1968, when Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro, an Economics graduate who is also an avid world traveller, established his own prêt-a-porter and haute couture textiles. 

To maintain the traditional quality of patterns, Etro gave contemporary twist to the classic patterns through the liberal use of daring colours and innovative combinations.

In 1980s, Etro applied its signature Paisley print on coated jacquard fabrics and used the fabric to produce fashion statement-making handbags, suitcases and overnight bags.   

It was in the 1990s the fashion world began to fall in love with the house’s emblematic paisley prints when Etro introduced its first ready-to-wear collection at the Milan Fashion Week in 1996. 

To date, Etro owns a collection of 150 cashmere shawls laden with paisley prints dating from 1810 to 1880 and these threads have inspired the birth of Etro paisley that is ubiquitous in every collection.  

While today’s technology advancement is made to ease printing process, the initial stage of the print production remains traditional yet painstaking. 

Moreover, it is the scrupulous artistic process that gives the paisley an unparalleled sentimental value ― the reason why it is worth to part with substantial amount of money to own either a paisley-printed cashmere scarf, a paisley-printed dress from its ready-to-wear collection, or a coated jacquard handbag doused in paisley print from Etro.  

It all started with the sketch. An artist sketches the design entirely by hand with a series of pencil traces. The sketch is then filled with tempera applied using sable brushes. 

Composition techniques, colour scheme and style play important roles during the process. The expert use of printing techniques is combined with a research for materials and for extraordinary quality as well as the use of latest techniques to supply unique creations.

Mr. Serge Maury, an expert cashmere designer who has been working with Etro for year is the creator and the man behind the exclusive Paisley design. In the first phase of the creation of the scarves, Monsieur Maury utilised the multifaceted photoengraving process that is required to create the printing frames. 

The application of the multifaceted photoengraving process allows the sketch to be printed on the fabric. While it is unsure how long does it take to create one paisley print, rest assured, a lot of skills and not to forget, patience, are required to create something that is meant to last for generations.

Once the fabric is printed, the final product is created. Made from fine cashmere and characterised by noble and natural fibres, the scarves are produced in different colours and with innovative variations thus emphasizing Paisley’s décor uniqueness.  

Apart from scarves, the paisley print can be also seen on Etro home furnishing line with products include pillows and ceramic pots, available at selected Etro boutiques and multi-brand home furnishing boutiques worldwide. 

Thus, drop by your nearest Etro boutique today and be mesmerised by the beauty of its emblematic paisley prints, especially on its current spring/summer ready-to-wear collection and the iconic scarves.

*Photos courtesy of Etro

Etro - Parkson Pavilion, Level 3, Lot 54, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang

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