No worthy shopping trip to London is complete without a trip to the Liberty department store that is nestled so beautifully between the ever busy Regent Street and vibrant Carnaby Street. To say that Liberty is an institution on the British high street would be an outrageous understatement. The history of this iconic department store can be so deeply felt every single time I find myself lucky enough to steal a visit. The store itself was completed in 1924 and as is evident still today the design was strongly influenced by the resurgence of Tudor fashion back then. From the warm wooden interior (the timber used to construct the building actually came from two HMS warships), to the fireplaces still in tact and random shields of Shakespeare, what I love the most about this department store is the fact that it almost feels like you're perusing through some random person's estate because of the homely feel of each room.
The success and eclecticism of Liberty is all thanks to the daring vision of one man, Arthur Lasenby Liberty (and the £2,000 loan he got from his then father-in-law which was repaid only 18 months later). His aim was to shake up the face of homeware and fashion by bringing influences and products from the Eastern world and this vision is still evident in Liberty products today.
This brings me to the heart of the blog post which is to confess my obsession with Liberty prints, which are world renowned and so iconic that you can recognize their patterns almost instantly. Because of his involvement with the Costume Society back in the 1880's and the fact that Liberty had a Royal Warrant, Arthur Liberty was creating stunning in-house designs in collaboration with other British designers of the time such as William Morris. Some of these early designs are still used today and it is wonderful to see how they have been reinterpreted for the customer of today.
My inspiration for this post however, came about thanks to one piece of clothing which of course I got from one of my rummaging trips at my go to charity shop in London. It features one of my favourite Liberty prints, Ianthe, whose roots stem from the French Art Nouveau designer, R. Beauclair (also one of my favourite design movements). "Ianthe" derives from the Greek words 'ion' and 'anthos' which translates to purple or violet flowers, indicating that the floral design may have originally been drawn based on violets.
Although this shirt is not for sale, we do have this print in a vintage Liberty tie at the shop as well as a selection of other amazing Liberty printed silk & cotton ties. So come down and check them out even if it's just to see the iconic designs up close :)