Today I wanted to talk to y’all about two important symbols that I love;
the Fleur De lis and the Giglio.
Now, I’m not sure where the love of Europe came from but prior to getting the chance to see it for myself I have been absolutely obsessed with the beauty and history of Paris. In my classes during college while everyone was watching the fashion runway shows, I was more interested in Paris and how amazing the people and language is over there. (side note; my original major in college was foreign language – French & German). I’ve always felt that the life there is so mysterious and seductive. So, needless to say, most of my inspiration for my designs came from Paris. One piece I created was a simple fleur de lis screen printed yardage for my senior thesis (all natural dyes).
The Fleur de lis was the symbol that I gravitated to all the time. If you notice, the symbol is everywhere in Europe. It isn’t in your face or insulting to anyone but a symbol that has so many meanings. Some of you may see the Fleur de lis and think of the New Orleans Saints. Some may think of religious figures. Some may not relate to it at all and that’s okay. But to me, it means victory and strength. It means luxury and elegance.
Wikipedia has a very long intense way of explaining the Fleur de lis that you can read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis . But I didn’t intend this post to be a history lesson. Short and sweet- The Fleur de lis is a stylized lily and on the unofficial coat of arms of France. Many countries, cities and religious figures have used it to showcase royalty, on the coat of arms and in art. This symbol is extremely popular and people may not even know they have been seeing it.
Now, I love the Fleur de lis, but when my mother and I visited Florence a few years ago I learned so much more about a similar but different symbol. Have you ever heard of the Giglio? Probably not. Not to worry I’ll tell ya. Wikipedia doesn’t give too much history on the Giglio which is unfortunate but, it is a stylized iris and the coat of arms of Florence, Italy. Quick recap: Fleur de lis – lily, Giglio – iris. These two emblems are so similar and unfortunately the Giglio version has been pushed aside. If you click on the image below you can see which is which.
There are so many blogs and sites that like to put their own spin on the history of the Fleur de lis and the Giglio. Personally, I just want the world to know that there is a difference and that they should use the Giglio more. It is a symbol that helped the people of Florence get through the battles they were facing. Ever since that trip, I’ve made it my mission to tell everyone about the beautiful symbol. Though I will never stop buying everything that has the Fleur de lis on it.
So if I was confusing. Here it is: The Fleur de lis, flower of lily (no stamens), is mostly associated with French royalty. The Giglio or Florentine iris (with stamens) is associated with the coat of arms of Florence, Italy. Both beautiful symbols with an intense history.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know these two emblems. Keep a look out for which one you’re seeing around town! Thanks for reading!