It’s a motif you’ve seen on shawls, quilts, saris, shirts and dresses. In India, the paisley pattern has perhaps been the most loved one. Given its origins, it’s not surprising why it is so. The droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian and Indian origin is sometimes called ‘Persian pickles’ by American traditionalists, especially quilt-makers. It is also said that imports from the East India Company in the first half of the 17th century made paisley patterns extremely popular, and the Company was unable to import enough to meet the demand.

International high fashion has later used the prints many a times to make their creations look exotic. Stella McCartney? and JW Anderson emblazoned silk pyjamas in their 2012 summer/spring collection with all-over paisley. Jil Sander tailored paisleys to perfection; while Paul Joe, Matthew Williamson and Emilio Pucci lent a boho-chic feel to their maxi dresses and silk shirts with paisleys.

Back home, the paisley is dominating the fashion circuit more than ever. Designer Gayatri Khanna says, “Paisley is a classic print, it can be done in different styles. It’s mainly the colour combination that decides whether it can be made to look western or Indian. It’s a very busy print, so one should be careful as to how one wants to wear it. Generally, Indian garments do it on certain portions, whereas on western outfits they are used all over.”

Designer Drashta immediately points to the way the prints are used by couturiers like JJ Valaya and Ritu Kumar. “Paisley is something that can be reinvented over and over again. The pattern gives you so much liberty to play around with because it’s easy to manipulate it and hence it’s easy to come up with different versions. They look beautiful in pastel shades and can also be done in multi colours,” she explains.

Fashion designers Rimi Nayak says that if all-over paisley is not your thing, break it with a belt, bag or shoes. “Paisley is such a classic print. It’s very in right now and is being contemporarised.

Jumpsuits in nice fabric with paisleys look gorgeous, even a paisley-printed dress will look lovely this season,” says Rimi.

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Paisley Maxi Dress
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