Liberty Sign

Liberty was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 where it originally sold goods from the Far East before establishing its own style and fashion, focussing on the founder's vision of historic and artistic dressing. This led to Liberty producing their own fabrics and garments in Liberty 'Art Colours', prints inspired by the Art Nouveau style and yet still taking inspiration from the East.

Liberty general (2)
The Liberty in Fashion exhibition gives a wonderful overview of the story of Liberty through curated collections of garments based on era, colours and style. The romanticism of the Liberty story is seen through an exploration of the varying prints, colours and techniques used by the brand. One example is the revival of smocking for garments (which were primarily used by agricultural workers in the 18th and 19th Centuries) which Liberty used primarily for their children's clothing, a sweet display of examples of these can be seen in the exhibition.

Throughout its 140 years Liberty has managed to keep up with the changing fashions and styles of the decade whilst keeping its trademark look and identity. This can be particularly seen through two displays in the exhibition, one for the 1960s and one for the 1970s. The bright designs of the 1960s used a lot of Liberty's wholesale fabric and included designers such as Mary Quant and Jean Muir. Examples of these designer pieces are on display in the exhibition, the colours and patterns of the different garments complimenting each other creating an engaging display. The contrast of the 1960s display can then be contrasted with the 1970s display where romantic, flowing garments show the quest for nostalgia which the '70s brought and that Liberty capitalised on.

1960s designs 1960s designs

1970s designs 1970s designs

The large displays of garments displays a particular era or style work particularly well in giving a clear illustration of the vision of Liberty at that time. The display of the inter-war period fashions is particularly striking, the dainty floral prints that Liberty is perhaps most known were most popular during this period and the variety of the garments produced with this style print are reflected.

Liberty general (1)

1970s detail
With a beautiful and interesting collection of Liberty garments displayed in an engaging and creative way, the Liberty in Fashion exhibition is a 'must see' for those interested in Vintage Fashion, Liberty and fashion in general. The exhibition is on until 28th February at the Fashion & Textile Museum in London. See for more details.

All images taken by Harriet Fisher at the Fashion & Textile Museum, London.