On Sunday, 13th October, Erica Riccobon, a new TRC volunteer and MA student at Leiden University, wrote:
The TRC is currently preparing a new exhibition planned to open in the second half of 2020. Its provisional title is 'From Buteh to Paisley: The History of a Global Motif.'
The exhibition highlights the worldwide diffusion and popularity of the Paisley motif, through an analysis of its travel from East to West and its reinterpretation within 20th century European fashion.
The Paisley motif first appeared in Iran under the name of buteh. Further developed for the design of the famous Kashmiri shawls, it was exported into Europe, through the (British) East India Company, from the 17th century onwards. In Europe it was copied and used in local industry, and hence again distributed across Europe. The motif, though quintessentially Eastern in origin, owes its Western name to the Scottish town of Paisley, a major weaving site during the Industrial Revolution, not far from Glasgow.
The display consists of a selection of 20th century Paisley textiles, together with some Kashmiri and Kashmiri-style shawls. The samples provide an extensive showcase of techniques, ranging from embroideries to printed and woven fabrics. They narrate a story of complex commercial, technological and creative exchanges across time and space.
The exhibition also features a selection of outfits constructed around the interpretation of the Paisley motif in European 20th century fashion, each representing one of the century's decades. The outfits reveal how uniquely and creatively the motif has been integrated within Western fashion over the course of time.
Often associated with the Bohemian life-style, with classical men's accessories as well as the hippy style of the 60s and the 70s, the Paisley design has many stories to narrate.
This exhibition aims to offer a comprehensive look at its global history, as well as its transversal appearance within Western fashion. The fil rouge of the Paisley motif will reveal how European fashion evolved its imaginary during the 20th century.