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Nowadays, fruit print clothing are a Do. On average, every person has at least one item in their closet with this pattern. Read about the history when this delicious food conquered the fabrics.



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Printing with Fruits and Vegetables

Embellishing clothes goes back to ancient times. An easy way to save expensive dye was to print on the fabrics. The famous paisley print has its origin from printing with a cut fruit. This pattern is often referred to as Persian Pickles. You may remember printing with potatoes in elementary school.

On kimonos with landscapes or other motifs occasionally, fruits and vegetable were within the picture. More on the history of kimonos.


18th to 20th Century

In the 18th Century, waistcoats were embroidered with berries. A century later,  the paisley print came via Great Britain from India to the Old World and was a favorite among the Rich and Aristocrats. Obviously, the food inspired motives like the strawberries on the dress below were in fashion for girls in the late 19th century.


girl in sari with berry pattern
Trade cards from the “Fruits” series (N12), issued in 1891 in a set of 50 cards to promote Allen & Ginter brand cigarettes. Another band from this series features a girl with strawberry embellished dresses. From Metropolitan Museum open source.


At that time, textiles and etiquette asked for garments decorations for the wealthy classes, even though they were not so ornamental like those worn by entertaining circles, elitist or Aristocrats. A decorative afternoon reception dress like the one below was a Must-have. More on the fashion of the Victorian Era.


afternoon reception dress with cherry pattern
French cotton dress ca. 1872. From Metropolitan Museum open source



After the Great War, art turned to a more abstract style and fashion followed along. The onset or Art Deco led to abstract prints of cherries and berries on women day dresses. More on the simplicity of the 1920s fashion.


photo of a young woman with abstract cherry patterned two piece ensembe and hat
Walker Evans, who photographed this smartly dressed woman leaning over the rail watching the throngs on the beach below. The patterned fabric of her two-piece ensemble looks like clusters of cherries or berries, providing a nice anchor for the photo. From: Getty open source program.


In 1953, Christian Dior designed attire with berries, blueberries and strawberries. Still today many retro 1950s dresses don cherries and strawberry prints.


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People Actually Wearing Actual Fruits

Obviously, in ancient times fruits were used to create head decoration as the below photo of a man stature suggests.


statue with fruit hat
A herm depicting Erma of Matidia in the guise of Thalia, muse of Comedy. The herm is misidentified as Tragedy. The statue has long curled hair and is wearing a headpiece made of fruit. La Tragédie statue at the Vatican. Photo taken 1859 by James Anderson (British, 1813 – 1877). From Getty Museum open source program.


Josephine Baker wore her banana skirt in her daily revues in Paris in the early 20th century. More on her life in this post on Afro-American Women History.


Fruit Prints Time Line of the 21st Century

The following (incompletely) lists when which designer featured which fruits in their collection.
2003: Junya Wanabe – strawberries, grapes, apples, pears
2004: Phoebe Philo – graphic bananas
2010: Stefano Pilati – strawberries
Stella McCarthney – citrus
2011: Miuccia Prada – bananas
2012: Dolce & Gabbana – tomatoes (more on their Alta Moda collections)
2012: Rossella Jardini – apple, grape, pepper, watermelon (also other food like carrots, onions)
2014: Stella Jean – Tropical fruits
2016: Bertrand Guyon – cherries and strawberries
2017: David Lynch – cherries and lemons
2017: Alessandro Michele – pineapples
Thom Browne – cherry and pineapple appliques
2020: Daniel Lee – pineapple



My Fruit Print Summer Clothes

When I was in high school, we sewed a nightgown in our sewing class. I had picked a flannel fabric in pink with strawberries being left out in white. Later, in my 20s, I owned a PJ in navy and white featuring rows of blue cherries on the top, while the bottom were navy shorts. Otherwise, all my fruit-related prints have been paisley.


influencer in fruit print tunic dress in pruple, pink, fuchsia and white
Modalu Pipa bag, Very Fine Dance Shoes sandals, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Rebecca Collins necklace , sunglasses c/o SUNGAIT and tunic c/o Coolibar.



How Fashion Bloggers Style Fruit Prints

See this video to see what fashion bloggers wear with their fruit print garments.


fashion bloggers over 50 in trendy fruit print summer dresses
Fashion bloggers wearing fruit print.



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Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2023 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I love your dress 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Mondays. I hope you can join us again tomorrow, Friday or next week for our next parties 🙂 #CreativeMondays

  2. Lucy Bertoldi

    I love this post! Fashion history is my passion- so I found this extremely interesting. Love the print on your dress and the history behind paisley as well! Beautiful!

  3. Amy Johnson

    What a great history of fruit prints. Love your dress too!

  4. shelbeeontheedge1

    I love how you tied paisley into the fruity theme! I love paisley prints and had no idea that the first ones were made by using fruit as stamps! So interesting. This was a really great read as well. I love learning the history of different trends and where specific prints originated. I also love your paisley dress!


  5. Jodie

    How funny because I just bought and wore a lemon skirt…it’s in my IG stories in fact!!!