Paisley pattern these days tends to conjure up images of Bohemian life and rock n roll high-jinx – It’s also something of a paradox; very British, but also deemed as exotic or opulent; probably because of its Indian/ Iranian origins.
When I first saw the new “Paisley Crescent” design from the Mini Moderns new collection, I was really struck by it’s originality. The designs of course contain the famous paisley “crescent” or “teardrop” shape that appears as a bit of a pun in the collection title, representing a “crescent” of suburban Deco houses with swirls and flourishes of very British flowers, hedges, and bicycles. This is the 2nd set of designs from the “Buddha of Suburbia” collection, which is influenced by the book of the same name by Hanif Kureshi. This stunning design is available in 5 colourways: Chalkhill Blue, Concrete, Pale Verdigris, Lido and, I have to confess, my favourite, Tangerine Dream!
Paisley to a lot of people’s minds is often associated with the hippie era of the 60’s, but it actually lingered way into the early 70’s, and was adopted by the the cool glamsters of the Biba and Bowie set. Paisley was the pattern of choice for rock n roll royalty from this era, even John Lennon had a paisley limo…imagine that! (..Stella McCartney, the daughter of that other famous Beatle, is also rocking the trend right now with her latest collection, featuring dresses with exquisite paisley cut outs).
Of course there was eventually a backlash to the hippie, bohemenian dream, and no doubt the Mini Moderns will cover this at some point in future designs from the collection – as this is also covered in the book!
Another really important development in 70’s Social British history was the growing ethnic population from places such as Jamaica, Pakistan, and significantly, in relation to the history of the Paisley pattern, India. Britain’s always been a lot more culturally diverse than it’s picture postcard image suggests, but a new vitality was brought to British life in the 70’s with various waves of immigration from different countries. Multi-culturalism is a central theme in the Buddha of Suburbia, and the Mini Moderns have very adroitly incorporated into their design a pattern with a fair bit of history. Paisley has now become synonymous with the town in Scotland where the pattern was originally made in Britain, although Paisley, in the shape we recognise it today originated in India in the 1600s, and is still being made there in the traditional way today!