Pretty In Paisley

The paisley pattern, known as mankolam in India, or mango pattern, stands out as one of the most easily recognisable motifs in the world. It was created in the 1500s in Persia (now known as Iran) and used to decorate royal regalia. The intricate tear shaped pattern made its way to Europe thanks to the East India Trading Company as they imported products from India. The design gained its English name from the town of Paisley, Scotland, where, in the 1800s, weavers became the primary producers of paisley patterned shawls. In the 1960s and 70s paisley made a comeback as it represented the Bohemian culture of the time. John Lennon even had his Rolls Royce custom painted in a paisley pattern!

Once again, paisley has come roaring back into fashion, with many of the major fashion designers showcasing an array of paisley themed pieces in their autumn/winter collections, such as in the Etro ready to wear collection. Paisley is set to continue through spring and summer, with many designers gaining their inspiration from the 70s, creating whimsical, bohemian inspired pieces. Anna Sui’s spring collection included multicoloured paisley patterned dresses and leggings, while Emilio Pucci has mixed paisley prints with beautiful psychedelic colours and chiffon materials to create light, floaty dresses perfect for the summer.

Pretty In Paisley
Pretty In Paisley

Paisley really is a very versatile design, so it is no surprise that it has lent brilliantly to many of the bespoke wedding stationery we create at ananya. We have found that the paisley motif is not only an elegant and vintage design but that it is also rich in spiritual significance. In Indian culture, the paisley signifies the time of harvest and prosperity. In Oriental traditions, the two paisleys represent the yin-yang symbol, a sign of equilibrium and balance. The flow of the two polar energies, Yin (Female) and Yang (Male), seek balance in the natural flow of the universe, constantly replacing each other and eventually, becoming each other. The paisley thus makes a wonderful motif to symbolise the union of two individuals in a marriage!

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!

Diwali @ Louis Vuitton?

Diwali – from the Sanskrit word “deepavali” meaning a garland of lamps – is a celebration of victory over evil and light over darkness. This year (like the years past), Hindus across the world will celebrate this joyous occasion on November 5th with family, friends and colleagues of all races, nationality and social diversity.

Diwali is a period that marks new beginnings and represents joy, love, reflection, resolution, forgiveness, light and knowledge. It is much more than the ‘festival of lights’ that it is commonly known as. Diwali is about sharing joy; a revered tradition; a cultural identity that connects people to people.

The growing popularity of Diwali is a reflection of global diversity and India’s increased prominence across the world, both culturally and economically. Last year, President Obama made headlines when he lit a diya (traditional oil candle light) an delivered a heart warming speech wishing Hindus a “Happy Diwali”; this year it was Louis Vuitton who hit the news waves by announcing its collaboration with noted Indian artist Rajeev Sethi in creating window displays featuring hand painted LV trunks that will glow from within simulating the presence of a diya. LV will also create limited edition Diwali inspired dresses. From traditional culture to modern day fashion inspiration– one thing seems clear – Diwali is no longer a celebration confined to India, Hindus or its culture.


With the increase in mixed marriages, there is a desire to pass on each tradition and culture to their multicultural children. Diwali is no different. Last year ananya created bespoke Diwali cards to represent one such multicultural union, between a Hindu bride and a Catholic groom, celebrating Diwali.

Part of the beauty of Diwali is colourful greeting cards adorning the home in the days leading up to the celebration. There is much joy in both sending and receiving a 'paper' card, beautifully designed to represent the culture and joy of the celebration it depicts – a joyous sentiment that can sometimes be lost in translation in viral or email messages.

Why not bring joy to your family and friends and send them one of ananya’s unique Diwali cards. Think of the smile when your loved ones open the post - priceless. There are Diwali cards for all budgets - from plain to cards embellished with sparkling crystals, as stocked in Harrods.

Place an order by 15th October to get a 10% discount. Simply quote 'ananya life 10' when you call +44 (0)20 7242 1877 or email

We at ananya wish you all a very Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year.

Nellie the Elephant

“Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus off she went with a trumpety-trump.  Trump, trump, trump”.

Remember the song made famous by the Toy Dolls in 1984?  If you do, it probably brings back an array of memories.

There is more to the elephant than Nellie’s song.  Hot off the “trunk” - the Elephant Parade  - a conservation campaign that highlights the catastrophe faced by the endangered Asian elephant. The Elephant Parade (which ended on July 3rd with an outstanding auction) displayed over 250 “designer” elephants all over central London. Nellie sure would be trumpety-trump with the efforts to save her peers, not only in Asia but across the globe! The elephant is after all the largest of all living land animals – some respect please!

Elephants symbolise grandeur. Buddhists admire them for their patience and wisdom. In China, elephants are respected for their power, strength and energy. They have particular significance in India and not just as a form of transport! Ganesha, the elephant headed God is worshiped by millions and one of the most well-known deities associated with power, strength, success and wisdom.  The elephant is also a popular motif used on Indian wedding invitations and personal stationery as it is thought to induce good fortune. Ever watched Bride and Prejudice with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan? Recall the classic scene of the American groom sweeping his Indian bride off her feet on an elephant? (If you have, you will be smiling about now!) Russell Brand – you were not the first, although you did make the tabloids with your proposal to Katy Perry! So, congratulations!


Even Hermes has got in on a piece of Nellie’s action with its 2008 Orange Hermes et Rose Indien ad campaign. Several leading designers, from Prada and Gucci to Ferragamo and Cartier, have used the elephant as inspiration for their work.

We at ananya love Elephants (and Nellie too) and we are currently working on a line of elephant personal stationery as our own special celebration of this glorious animal, which we look forward to sharing with our readers! In fact, we have already used elephants in previous work. For a recent multicultural wedding we used the elephant as a motif which was continued throughout the stationery, from the invitations through to the stationery used on the day. Alongside this, we often use Ganesha on many of our wedding invitations and, of course, for Diwali greeting cards, as a sign of luck and good fortune.

A good cause, a fashion cause and a personal cause – all in a day of Nellie!

Until next time...Namaste and enjoy ananya life!