The town of Paisley has teamed up with prestigious French fashion house Hermès – to help reconnect the town to the global design icon carrying its name.
In what is thought to be a unique collaboration, the Paris-based luxury goods manufacturer has used original Paisley Pattern designs owned by the town to create exclusive ‘Paisley from Paisley’ items for its silk and accessories 2019 spring/summer collections.
The name Paisley became known around the world in the 18th and 19th centuries when its weavers perfected the iconic patterned garments which became a fashion craze among Europe’s wealthy middle classes, with the Pattern motif remaining popular to this day.
Paisley Museum retains the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls plus thousands of original designs – which have inspired new items now on sale in Hermes stores around the world and online.
A team from Maison Hermès last year visited Paisley’s Museum and 850-year-old Abbey, and selected designs now adapted into a cashmere chale scarf, a silk gavroche scarf, and a bangle.
Versions of the gavroche and bangle are being donated to the town, to be displayed and archived at Paisley Museum, set to reopen in 2022 after a major £42m transformation.
The Hermès collaboration is a major step forward in the wider push to transform Paisley’s future by retelling its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.
That includes work to commercialise the Paisley Pattern, including plans for a digital archive of original patterns – opening up the town’s unique collections to the fashion industry and consumers around the world, and boosting ongoing work to build new business based around the textiles, design and creativity which made the town’s name.
The project was born thanks to Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman magazine, who contacted Hermès after a visit to the town to view its collections as a keynote speaker for 2016’s PaisleyMake textiles and fashion conference and festival.
Christine Duvigneau, Directeur du Studio-Dessins et Création Graphique, was in charge of artistic direction and the development of this project alongside the Hermès silk department. Mme. Duvigneau said: “We were delighted to collaborate with Paisley and hope our designs will serve as an ambassador for Paisley worldwide.”
Dr Dan Coughlan, textiles curator at Paisley Museum, added: “During the 18th and 19th centuries, Paisley was one of the leading towns in Europe for the manufacture of high-quality fashion fabrics.
“The fine silk gauzes and figured muslins of the 18th century, followed by the 19th century shawl, were in demand in all the fashion circles of Europe. Much of the legacy of this great textile tradition is now preserved in Paisley Museum.
“The textile collection in the museum holds what is thought to be the largest collection of shawls in the world, together with many pattern and sample books, including those which so inspired the incredible Hermès design team.
“This collaboration shows the extraordinarily rich and varied collection can be used by today’s designers to continue Paisley’s tradition of creating beautiful high-quality textiles with provenance, while raising awareness of the town’s internationally-significant story.”
The collaboration with such a prestigious name in the fashion industry is a boost for Paisley’s growing reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations for culture, heritage and events.
The flagship project is the £42million transformation of Paisley Museum and Art Galleries into an international-class visitor destination retelling the unique story of Paisley, its heritage and pattern.
The museum is currently undergoing a four-year refurbishment – led by award-winning international architects AL_A – with the building expected to almost quadruple current visitor numbers when it reopens in 2022.
The town’s internationally-significant museum collections can be viewed at Paisley: The Secret Collection, thought to be the first-ever publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.
The earliest books in the collection from 1770 contain a variety of delicate silk and gauze samples produced by local weavers in the town, are now very rare and the only known survivors of this trade.