This Autumn, many designers have adopted flower prints and, along with the perennial popularity of the rose, we are also seeing the lotus. It has appeared on some stunningly beautiful dresses made by Burberry Prorsum, Anna Sui, Chloe, Valentino, Joie and Sandro. I’ve seen it frequently on items at vintage fairs and often on kimonos (Fuji Kimono usually has some gorgeous ones) but this season it seems to have hit the runways in a big way.
As with other traditional textile motifs, the flower’s significance was originally religious. The lotus has featured in ancient Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Japanese and other traditions with surprisingly similar associations. In Ancient Egypt the lotus represented the Sun, creation and rebirth. Frequently represented in funerary art, there was an Egyptian spell that claimed to transform the dead into a lotus to allow them to be resurrected. In Hinduism it is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality and eternity. It holds associations with the Hindu gods, for example with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity and Brahma, the god of creation. In Buddhism the lotus is associated with purity, spirituality and faithfulness. It is a sacred flower in Tibet.
So whether your taste is for Valentino or vintage, there is a lotus out there for you. Even, apparently, for Mr Nellvoyager too. He knew immediately what the lotus meant to him: a 2009 Prince album. But of course.