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Discover the inspiration behind the Fable collection

To celebrate the launch of our brand new Fable collection, we're delighted to invite you to discover more about the origins of our latest scarf designs: Caspian, Elven and Frith. Read on to explore Emma's fascinating influences, take an exclusive look at her mood boards and discover the stories, creatures and paintings that lead to the creation of the Fable designs...

When you see Emma's inspiration and reference images, you start to get a real sense of where the designs come from and how she combines her vivid imagination and magical sources of influence to build collections of such beautiful creations. 

The Fable scarf collection by Emma J Shipley is hugely inspired by fairy tales, British folklore and magical myths. Some of Emma's key inspiration came from Pre-Raphaelite paintings, tales of pixies and faeries, and traditional British folk tales

Largely drawing inspiration from fairy tales and British folklore, the new designs will take you on an exciting adventure, leading you through whimsical woodland and flying you through a starry midnight sky. As with all of our unique designs, Emma's illustrations are flooded with inspiration from both the natural world and a surreal fantasy realm. You can expect to find spotted rabbits, swooping owls, prancing pixies and mystical unicorns a plenty...

Discover the three fantastical designs in the Fable collection: Frith, Elven and Caspian - all hand drawn by Emma J Shipley

The Caspian Design

The Caspian design features a majestic lion and fantastical unicorn in a surreal landscape hand drawn by Emma. It takes inspiration from C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and the iconic British lion and unicorn. Pictured below is one of Emma's original mood boards, created during the design process of the collection. It's full of magical imagery including book covers, vintage illustrations, historical sculptures, folk tale symbolism, photographs and more...

Explore the original mood board for the Caspian design by Emma J ShipleyMuch of the inspiration behind Caspian comes from charming vintage imagery, whether that's anatomical drawings or illustrations from books. This traditional form of meticulous drawing is similar to the realism of the lion and unicorn in the Caspian design - but, of course, an extra EJS twist sets the creatures within a uniquely surreal, almost geometric scene. Take a closer look at some details from the Caspian mood board below...

Details from Emma J Shipley's Caspian design mood board. Lions, unicorns, zebras, vintage book covers and traditional British symbolism inspired this striking design

"An extra EJS twist sets the creatures within a uniquely surreal, almost geometric scene."


The Elven Design

The Elven design features a playful scene of prancing pixies, flying faeries and wandering woodland creatures. Mischievous pixies emerge from the enchanted forest, some flying on their own while others ride badgers, bunnies and swooping owls. Explore Emma's original mood board for the Elven design below, depicting vintage drawings, faerie imagery and Pre-Raphaelite paintings. 

Discover Emma J Shipley's mood board behind the Elven design; inspiration was drawn from Victorian fairy tales, Pre-Raphaelite paintings and vintage illustrations

The Elven design was influenced by the magical phenomenon known as the Cottingley Fairies. In Victorian England, two young girls took a series of photographs seemingly showing tiny, winged fairies. These images have since become iconic after being published in 1920 and caused controversy over whether or not the fairies were real. These old photographs, created years before the introduction of computers and photo editing software, have an undeniable charm and air of magic around them, which we have captured in the Elven design. The design was also influenced by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Pre-Raphaelite paintings of the 19th century, particularly Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia.

Left: One of the photographs taken of the 'Cottingley Fairies' in Victorian England. Right: A detailed section of Emma's mood board imagery

Left: A scene from Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' depicted in this 1849 painting by Joseph Noel Paton. Right: Another Shakespearian scene portrayed in the iconic 'Ophelia' by Sir John Everett Millais in 1851-2


The Frith Design

The Frith design is an older design of Emma's from 2015, which, due to high demand, we decided to bring back this season to be part of our Fable collection. The design features a ring of leaping, spotted rabbits encircling a spellbinding castle. A regal, swooping owl takes centre stage and the outskirts of the scene are host to an array of whimsical woodland creatures. Discover some of Emma's original inspiration in the mood board below...

The Frith design by Emma J Shipley was inspired by fantastical stories like 'Watership Down', 'Grimm's Tales' and more...

The design was greatly inspired by Watership Down and other fantastical folk tales, such as Grimms' Fairy Tales, and Aesop's Fables. The original colour palette of the Frith scarves was inspired by the likes of Wes Anderson, Richard Mosse and Magritte - whose bodies of work express an enchanting spectrum of surreal colours and unusual tones. 

Left: 'La recherche de l'absolu' by Rene Magritte, 1960. Right: 'Blood Will Tell' by Rene Magritte, 1959

Left: Richard Mosse's breathtaking and fantastical infrared photographs of war zones are a fascinating study of colour and provided Emma with colour inspiration for the Frith design. Right: A scene from Wes Anderson's 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', 2014.

So whether its the magnificent lion from the Caspian design, the playful pixies in the Elven design or the racing rabbits of the Frith design, there's a magical creature for everyone in the Fable collection, both real and imaginary...

The Fable collection is now available to shop on our online store - which fairytale EJS treasure will you go for?