Hubert Burda Media

Traces of Creativity

Etro discloses the secrets to crafting its famous paisley scarves

Traces of Creativity

Having showcased its finesse with bold, alternative apparel for nearly 50 years, Etro has become synonymous with off-kilter, dapper and playful sophistication. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Italian fashion house's immensely popular paisley scarves, which have been an indispensable part of its signature style and are created via a painstaking and closely guarded process.

The creator behind them is experienced cashmere artisan and long-serving Etro designer Serge Maury. Each design starts with a physical sketch traced out in pencil. Thereafter, he fills in the spaces with tempera paints using a sable brush. A process known as photoengraving, it is used to create the illustrations which are then meticulously photographed and recorded on sensitised metal plates. These are afterward used to produce numerous printing frames that are treated with various chemicals to create Etro's famed scarves.

A symbol that bears significance to everyone from the ancient Indus to the Celts in the far north, the paisley is a motif with roots that can be traced back thousands of years to Mesopotamia. Despite already being a hugely popular pattern in the world of fashion, Etro picked this symbol of the tree of life to be a key component of its evergreen creations. Esteemed as gifts fit for royalty, these highly sought-after accessories are weaved from premium cashmere, with natural fibres that are both a treat to touch and behold.

The paisley makes its return once again in Etro's Spring/Summer 2013 foray, where mesmerising scarves sport bohème patterns that evoke the rich culture of India as well as the ancient civilisations of Latin America.

Founded by Gerolamo (also known as Gimmo) Etro in 1968, the label's menswear is currently overseen by his son Kean, while daughter Veronica designs the womenswear. Its cashmere scarves are a major attraction within the brand's feted furnishing textiles line, with a raucous reception that has not died down since its debut in 1981.