Liberty of London

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According to JC Report’s Retail Watch, Liberty is opening their “first stand-alone store in London’s Sloane street” with a new modern edge. Liberty was established in 1875, and became the epitome of Belle Epoch style. It is also well remembered for its part in the Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Aesthetics, and Japonism movements in both fashion and the decorative arts.

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Liberty & Co Dec. Arts from the Victoria & Albert Museum Collection

While the company does have a vast archive, some of which was used for inspiration in the design of the new store, many museums in the US and UK have solid holdings of Liberty’s designs. Here are just a few of my personal favorites from across a variety of collections:

From the Met’s Costume Institute (More info here)

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Liberty & Co. Raw silk (pongee) smocked and embroidered with silk, circa 1903 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

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Aesthetic’s Robe, 1885-1900, Liberty & Co (Victoria & Albert Museum)

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Liberty Dress, 1885 (Victoria & Albert Museum)

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Liberty Dress, 1894 (Victoria & Albert Museum)
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Liberty Dress, 1905 (Victoria & Albert Museum)

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Liberty Dress of pongee silk with smocking and machine-made lace, 1905 (Victoria & Albert Museum).

More information on all of these objects are available by searching for “Liberty & Co.” at the Victoria and Albert Museum Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles also recently held two coinciding exhibits on Artistic Dress and Aesthetic Dress, featuring many garments from this era. I simply can not get over the beauty of this time period and this aesthetic – it evokes both femininity and hand-craft skills. Which of those above is your favorite and why?

Until Next Time,

Heather

www.fashionhistorian.net

1 Comment »

  1. Lizzie said,

    July 28th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    The Aesthetic’s Robe at the V&A is my favorite. I think it just says “Liberty” more than the other pieces. They are are wonderful, thought!

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