Paisley’s autumn revival: the ‘twisted teardrop’ is taking over wall coverings, carpets and rugs

From wallpapers to soft furnishings, these designers have nailed the paisley revival...

The familiar paisley “twisted teardrop” dates from Persia some 2,000 years ago. 

Imported woven shawls with the design were wildly popular in England from the 17th century onwards, but by the early 19th century the Scottish town of Paisley had all but taken over the market, producing clever and distinctive weaves of up to 15 colours.

The town’s name stuck – replacing what was formerly known as the “buta” or “boteh”. In French it is known as “cachemire” and in Chinese it is known as the “ham hock pattern”. But wherever in the world, or in history, you are the distinctive gilded weave with its bent tip is unmistakeable. 

Some scholars believe the shape is taken from a vegetable; while others think it is a stylised floral motif incorporating the fronds of a cypress tree or a bent cedar tree. 

During the 1960s the design became synonymous with psychedelia and it re-entered the popular mainstream. The Beatles wore paisley, it graced the fenders of rock guitars and in the 1980s pop icon Prince even named a song, his record label and the studio where he lived and died after the pattern.

This autumn, paisley is enjoying yet another revival. But it is more likely to be found on walls, floors, fabrics and furniture than on our clothes. Take a tour of our gallery, above, to see the latest designs...


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