Liberty of London: Meet Louis Matthewman

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 17.07






Meet Louis Matthewman, Liberty’s Marketing Projects & Events Officer.

Louis-Matthewman

Season 2 of Liberty of London has arrived, so we’ve taken the opportunity to get to know a few of the key characters a little better. Here, Louis Matthewman talks about how life has changed since the show’s first series, the A-listers  he’s worked with, and his favourite events to-date…

Job title: Marketing Projects & Events Officer

Years of service at Liberty: 5 ½ years

What does your position entail? I’m responsible for managing all in-store events, as well as working on marketing projects – that could be campaigns or guerilla advertising – it’s quite a varied job.

How has life changed since the first season of Liberty of London? The biggest change would be my promotion. Now I work purely on events and marketing projects, whereas before I was Ed’s PA.

How did you feel going into the second season of Liberty of London? To be honest I didn’t really think about it! The crew gradually arrived and started filming; suddenly it felt like they’d never left. Now they feel like colleagues, they’re just another part of the furniture.

What’s your favourite Liberty moment from the past year? The best thing I’ve had the opportunity to do was work with Manolo Blahnik. His ‘World of Manolo’ events were pretty amazing, plus I got to meet him and go to his showroom. He is such a whirlwind character!

Who has been your favourite celebrity you’ve met working at Liberty? Yesterday I saw Lindsay Lohan in-store and that was a very “Oh my God” moment. Generally I’m not too fazed by celebrities as I’ve always worked in this kind of industry. The thing I love about Liberty is actually the people who work here – so varied, so creative, very eccentric. I guess day-to-day it’s actually the employees that make the job interesting.

You’ve put on some stunning events for Liberty – which are you proudest of? Our London Collection Men’s events with Men’s Health are always a lot of fun – it’s a really cool crowd and a good vibe. But I think the two events I’m proudest of are the Christmas windows unveiling last year – we did a light show projected onto the building  – and my 2011 fashion week event with Alexander Wang – Beth Ditto performed and Nick Grimshaw DJ’ed.

What’s your favourite men’s winter trend? I’m quite into the roll-necks this season – I don’t really follow fashion but when I find something I like I buy several of them.

Shop Louis’ Liberty edit.

Tune in to Channel 4 to watch the next episode of Liberty of London 9pm Wednesdays. Join the conversation on Twitter @LibertyLondon #LibertyofLondon.

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Liberty of London: Meet Lee Whittle

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 17.06






Meet star of Liberty of London, General Manager Lee Whittle.

Lee-Whittle

We chat with Liberty’s General Manager, Lee Whittle from the second season of Liberty of London, about his favourite trends, working at Liberty and what has changed since the show first aired in 2013.

Name: Lee Whittle

Job title: General Manager

Years of service at Liberty: 6

What’s on your Liberty wish list this Christmas?
Lanvin Men’s is new to Liberty so – yes please.

What is your favourite winter trend?
Shearling coats, luxury knits and cool trainers.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Liberty?
The Team.

What has changed for you since the first season of Liberty of London?
My beard grew.

Do you think the store has changed in the past year?
The store is constantly changing, the layout, the offer, so it’s essential we keep it exciting and moving forward.

Shop Lee’s Liberty edit.

Tune in to Channel 4 to watch the next episode of Liberty of London 9pm Wednesdays. Join the conversation on Twitter @LibertyLondon #LibertyofLondon.

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Liberty of London: Meet Kate Brindley

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 17.06





Meet Kate Brindley, Head of Press and Marketing, in our meet the stars exclusives.

Kate-Brindley

After much anticipation, Season 2 of Liberty of London has arrived. Catch up with Kate Brindley about everything from her Christmas wishlist to her favourite designers this season, and what has changed since last year’s series premiere.

Job title:
Head of Press and Marketing

Years of service at Liberty: 6

What’s different about doing the show this time around?
One more episode which has meant hours and hours more of filming to fill it!!

What’s on your Liberty wishlist this Christmas?
Everything! It’s the only place I shop at Christmas time and not just because my office is right next door!
I’m buying the Splendid Dressing Up crowns for my gorgeous god daughters, the beauty advent calendar for my 2 female best friends, an Iphis navy weekend bag or document holder from Liberty London for my very lucky male best friends and Bamford organic baby products for my sister who is due to have her first baby very soon. I will also be sending out Rosie Wonders Christmas cards to everyone – they are so fun and beautifully done.
I am a huge fan of self-gifting at Christmas… After all how else do you guarantee you get exactly what you want? This year I’m going to spoil myself with an Eva Fehren opaque sapphire and diamond pendant. I’ve been a very good girl after all!!

Who are your go-to designers for the festive season?
Marco de Vincenzo for skipping around in during the day and then Roksanda or Jonathan Saunders for showing off in for an evening – always teamed with a major pair of Nicholas Kirkwood shoes of course.

What is your favourite winter trend?
Oversized outerwear – it takes a real woman of substance to pull it off but when one does… Well it’s so major!

What changes/events have happened in the year since last season of Liberty of London?
New people joining the business bringing with them an exciting new perspective… It’s been especially good to have Liz Silvester the new head of Visual Identity on board as she is so brilliant at what she does. We also see a lot more of the ‘business’ decisions the team makes this time around at things like NY fashion week. I like that as it shows there is SOME method to our madness!

What’s been your favourite Liberty moment in the last year?
I think it was Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. We had a hairy start to event getting it all ready in time but the night was so fun in the end. The customers that come in for things like that are always so brilliant and we had lots of great London designers like Henry Holland in-store holding court. The whole night’s proceedings were compeered by the stylist Richard Sloan who has the most wonderful energy and way of making everyone behave scandalously.

What have you got planned for the next year at Liberty?
A sabbatical!

Shop Kate’s Liberty edit.

Tune in to Channel 4 to watch the next episode of Liberty of London 9pm Wednesdays. Join the conversation on Twitter @LibertyLondon #LibertyofLondon.

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Liberty of London: Meet Stelios

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 17.06





Meet Stelios, Buyer for Designer Vintage at Liberty London.

Stelios-Hawa

As the second season of Liberty of London begins, catch up with the staff starring in the show. We chat to Liberty’s Designer Vintage Buyer, Stelios about the intricacies of his role, including behind the scenes of his vintage treasure trove and his favourite Liberty moments.

Job title:
Buyer for Designer Vintage. Covering three areas: lower ground men’s accessories, ground floor handbags, accessories and fine watches, and on the second floor clothing and other such items.

Years of service at Liberty: 10

Tell us about your job, what do you do for Liberty?
I source all the vintage items, but it’s very broad. One minute I’m looking at a Chanel suit, the next I’m looking at a Cartier lighter for menswear, and then a handbag from the 1950s that’s just come in from Dior. It’s very varied. Everything needs a lot of attention and I believe that, irrelevant to the fact that you’re selling vintage, whatever you sell somebody it has to be fit for the purpose which it’s sold. For example, you wouldn’t sell a watch that doesn’t work, a handbag with a broken strap or an item which has a lock to it that doesn’t lock.

Although it sounds simple, there can be a lot of work behind the scenes to make a product presentable, while at the same time not losing its vintage essence. I don’t believe in over-restoring items because you take away that beautiful patina that’s attained over the years. Whilst I believe certain scratches, like fine hairline scratches on jewellery form part of the beauty, you don’t want something Victorian that’s polished within an inch of its life because then there’s no point in even having a Victorian item – you may as well buy a new one!

All this takes time as every single item in Liberty goes through me. Every single one, there isn’t an item there that hasn’t been approved by me. I do all the buying, I approve everything, I decide how far we’re restoring and then we’ll decide which floor it is going on, because again, although vintage is vintage, there are certain things that look better in the men’s cabinet in 2014 than they did originally starting off as a women’s piece in the 1970s. This means you’ve got to have a very broad mind of how you look at vintage in terms of reselling it. There are no really hard and fast rules.

Favourite Liberty moment:
Favourite Liberty moments are when someone has come in and they’re looking for something and you’ve managed to fill the brief. They’re looking for an alternative wedding dress, or an alternative engagement ring that’s different and not standard. Because most of our customers here are very edgy, they don’t come in for a standard wedding dress or a standard ring. It’s very satisfying to see a smile on someone’s face when you’ve found the right thing for them or you’ve altered something. In designer vintage we have our own couture alteration service, so customers are very thrilled when they come in and we can alter the garment in the way they want.

A Brazilian lady came in the other day and saw one of the Chanel suits on a Wednesday evening. It was a size 12 and she was a size 16, so I explained how we have a couture workroom and here we can fit items literally as if they’ve been made for you. She returned the next evening for a fitting and the following day she flew back to Brazil with it. She was absolutely beaming with smiles and that makes me feel happy. Achieving something like that in three days is a great satisfaction for the customer service team. I think those kinds of situations keep the adrenaline going, when you’ve got a time frame to keep to.

How do you feel about being on Liberty of London?
I think it’s good to open up and show people what goes on behind the scenes. It’s very interesting because the public at large don’t understand what goes on to make things presentable, especially for vintage.

Who are your go-to designers for the festive season?
I’m a bit biased if you like: I love Prada! Because I think she’s one of the few women’s designers who has got her finger on the button for men’s and she does it very well. Prada’s always my first port of call.

What is your favourite winter trend?
I love military clothing, that’s my favourite for this winter.

What is it like working at Liberty?
Fun, always fun. And interesting, I like the sort of non-regimental way things are done here. I think this attitude works because a lot of our customers are very relaxed when coming here. You walk into other department stores and think they’re very stiff, and here despite us being way over a hundred years old, we’re very relaxed.

Shop Stelios’ Liberty edit.

Tune in to Channel 4 to watch the next episode of Liberty of London 9pm Wednesdays. Join the conversation on Twitter @LibertyLondon #LibertyofLondon.

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Behind the Scenes: The Exploding Scarves Story

Monday 17th November 2014, 15.00






Discover the behind the scenes process of bringing a Liberty gifting story to life.

exploding-scarves-collage

At times, Liberty can appear like a whirlwind of fine product, design and colour, so we’ve decided to go behind the scenes of one of our 2014 Christmas gifting stories and show you how we brought the image to life. We talked to James Millar, Liberty London’s Head of Design, to understand how to take an image from an idea to reality.

As Head of Design for Liberty London, James works with the team to create the Liberty print scarves, small leather goods, bags, men’s ties and pocket squares we have become so celebrated for. For this year’s Christmas, our gifting page required a set of images to bring the whole concept together. Enter the Exploding Scarves story.

scarf-narrative-image

The original image is from a 1930s catalogue advertising Liberty scarves.

“What I really love about the original is that all the illustrations are part of a narrative of this character using her Liberty scarf in different scenarios. It’s actually her trying to find a husband!”

she-bought-a-Liberty-scarf

“It inspired me because it’s really charming and captivating: I love the innocence of it. The story is very sweet and about how you can wear a Liberty scarf with every outfit, regardless of the occasion. It’s of its time in a very innocent way.”

scarves-sketch

To translate James’ exploding scarves sketch into a three-dimensional piece, a team including art director, photographer, set builder, stylist and creative director were pulled together.

In preparation, the set designers had to custom-make a giant purple Liberty box, the centre-piece of the image.

On the day, the whole process took about seven or eight hours just to set up.

“They (the set designers) had to wire all the scarves individually and also hang them using fishing line. It was very lengthy and tedious. Lots of tweaking: a real mission impossible with all the wires, we were constantly hearing, ‘Don’t touch it!’ in case you knocked anything.”

final-scarves-box

We hope you will agree that the final result was worth the hours of effort.

Shop the heritage Liberty scarves that inspired the shoot.

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