Liberty Loves Ronnie
Following a tradition of creative collaborations with artists such as William Morris, Pierre Cardin, Jean Muir and Cacharel, Liberty of London’s latest work is rather rebellious. We are proud to introduce the Ronnie Wood for Liberty of London capsule collection, which launches exclusively online on 15th Sept, with limited pieces available to pre-order from 7th Sept.
We caught up with Tamara Salman, Creative Director of Liberty of London, to find out what it was like to work with one of rock n’ roll’s biggest icons.
HOW DID THE COLLABORATION COME ABOUT?
I first met Ronnie one strange evening at Liberty. Our fantastic Style Service star Sukeena Rao had invited him and Charlie Watts to shop after hours in private. I popped by and started talking about art with Ronnie. I said I would just love to collaborate with him on a project for Liberty of London, a project that would fuse his art with what we do. Liberty is famous for doing unusual collaborations with distinguished artists and so I felt this would be such a great thing to do. Happily he loved the idea and called me up a few days later and we started!
HOW DID YOU WORK TOGETHER ON THE PRINTS?
When I first went round to see his art I was so taken aback with his use of colour and marks! Ronnie has no fear in expressing himself and I love that. It was really difficult to decide which direction to go in as there were so many ways we could have interpreted the work. I fell in love with the pieces we used and Ronnie worked closely with me to contextualise them within a textile design.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE?
‘I feel like painting’ is so strong, bold and instinctive. It was also the best painting that would work across all the different categories the collection required.
HOW INVOLVED WAS RONNIE IN THE COLLECTION?
Ronnie was of course heavily involved throughout. I kept the shapes for the clothing and the accessories very simple and slick. I wanted it to be both sophisticated and yet bold. It was also important for me not to break the lines of his art. Every piece has had the artwork re-sized to fit the individual item which was quite a process! My design team spent hours re-sizing everything after the patterns were made for the dresses and bags so that the maximum effect of the painting could be used and seen properly. Each item is pretty much individually made because of this. It is a very limited-edition collection.
HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE MATERIALS?
I wanted to use the best quality materials possible. The leather that the painting is printed on for the bags is the softest possible and the very best quality. The scarves are silk and cashmere and so on. The canvas bags use a similar material to that used by artists and is printed in a special way to give a faded and worn look.
WHAT WAS HE LIKE TO WORK WITH?
He has such amazing energy and a sense of fun. I loved seeing his face filled with delight when I first pulled out all the fabric that had been printed with his art work. He was then continually asking me when the samples would be ready. It was a very long process and very complicated getting it made so I was very proud to show him the first pieces. It took a lot of effort to prize them off his back once he had the stuff on! But we had to have it back as it was our only set. I let him have a scarf as we had a spare one and he gleefully wrapped it around his shoulders and rushed off with it.
It felt right collaborating with Ronnie on so many counts. Firstly Liberty has a tradition of working with mavericks – Arthur Liberty himself being one when he set up Liberty all those years ago. I would also like to think that the Liberty of London collection is also quite maverick and unexpected. Thus collaborating with a rock star and also a great artist just really made sense. It added to the whole ethos of doing things unexpectedly and in an unusual way. I wanted the challenge of not working with obvious designers. It is important for me to tread new ground whenever possible.