2017 Accessories Ties

The Mughal Print: An Archival Classic

By Drake's

Jul 13, 2022

The Mughal Print: An Archival Classic

We reach into the archives to examine a Drake's classic: the Mughal print.

With a rich 40-year history of producing printed textiles, Drake’s has a sizeable archive from which to draw inspiration. One of the many pleasures of working on each seasonal collection is diving back into these archives and unearthing decades-old prints to reinvent and reinvigorate for a new season. Over the years, certain designs have become somewhat synonymous with Drake’s: our unicorn or tiger prints, for example, tend to resurface every now and then, much to the joy of our most devoted followers.

Another stalwart is the Mughal print (time for a potted history): Mughal designs originate from India, at the time of the Mughal Empire (which spanned from the 16th to the 18th Century). Much like Mughal architecture (the chief example of which being the Taj Mahal), the Mughal painting style has become a visual byword for Indian art. Heavily indebted to the Far East in style, and indeed to European painting as well, Mughal art is characterised by its rich use of colour and assiduous detail.

This emphasis on stylised figurative detail roots Mughal art in illustrative traditions – paintings were often miniature in scale, and in fact were commonly used to illustrate books. As such, Mughal designs lend themselves very nicely to printing – unsurprising, given our adoption of them. Drake’s has been producing Mughal-style prints for decades, applying them to ties, scarves and pocket squares. This season a print depicting a mounted hunt (a common motif of Mughal art) makes its way onto a fine wool challis tie (the first time we have printed a Mughal design onto a wool tie, for the record). For inspiration, we plucked from the archives a silk scarf fabric last used in our Autumn / Winter 1999 season, and took this as the starting point for our new design.

The beauty of a Mughal print is how easily it can be used to elevate a tailored ensemble, adding just the right amount of interest. It’s a less obvious choice than a paisley or a medallion motif, and though certainly vibrant, never becomes too busy or chaotic. Worn with an otherwise conservative outfit, a Mughal print tie can be relied upon to do the heavy lifting, providing all the pattern and colour you need, allowing you to take the easy options when it comes to your jacket, shirt, trousers and shoes.

Long may the Mughal print remain a staple of our design archive, as well as our wardrobes.

Share This