Join us as we explore the history of the dress fabric prints featured in the latest Nike X Liberty collaboration
Whilst we wait with baited breath for the arrival of Nike X Liberty’s latest collection of printed footwear, we turn our attention to the iconic designs featured in the new SS14 range. Some of Nike’s most famous styles have been adorned with seasonal floral and paisley patterns, including the Nike Air Max, Internationalist and Dunk Sky Hi trainers. Though all three signature prints used have been given a modern, fresh blue colourway, this collection of patterns is steeped in Liberty’s design history. Lora, Anoosha and Crown are all either based on, or inspired by the rich heritage found in the Liberty archives. With references to the Aesthetic and Art Deco movements, these decorative designs hark back to a by-gone era, yet play up to some of this season’s hottest trends. Invest in these patterns to ease yourself into the oriental, floral and folk aesthetics synonymous with the SS14 trends.
Lora is based on William Morris’ prolific Willow design from 1874. Appealing to followers of the Aesthetic Movement, this print featured a repeated leaf pattern which was then applied to a range of wallpapers for interior decoration. The theme of the Willow tree and its leaves appears frequently in the oriental inspired objet d’art and furniture of the time. This pull to the East was an attempt to inject new life into the abhorred cheery, chocolate box homewares of the Victorian age, with beauty in nature a prominent visual theme throughout the movement. Liberty’s re-worked 1970s version, used in the Nike collaboration, is reminiscent of the blue and white china that became so popular in the 19th Century. It refers to the Chinoiserie designs of a different time, yet is very in keeping with summer’s fascination with all things Oriental.
Anoosha, originally Floral Blotch, is a typical 1930s floral, completed at Liberty’s Merton Abbey Mills print works. This small, stylised trail print is a good example of the designs of the time, when floral prints of this kind held prominence in women’s fashion. A more free-form style was adopted to produce designs closely allied with the Art Deco movement. Art Deco aimed to move away from more traditional, realistic representations of nature in an attempt to revise existing, outdated ideas about design. Women’s fashion at the time had revisited the romantic, with focus firmly back on the waist, and a neo-classical female figure. This transition can be attributed to the sombre mood the Depression, and was an attempt to regain some of the traditional values lost in the decadent 1920s. Emphasis was placed on the great outdoors and healthy living, with fashion focussed on a range of wearable “sportswear” pieces. Today, you can celebrate this rich heritage with Nike’s Anoosha print trainers, whilst embracing the romantic and sports-luxe trends of the season.
Crown is based on various paisley-style block prints discovered in the Liberty archive. The Paisley motif originates from Persia and India, and has been documented to represent a stylised floral and cypress tree pattern. A symbol of life, a guardian against evil, and a representation of rebellion, this pattern has long been prominent in world-wide fashion history. Imports from colonised India in the 18th and 19th centuries, sparked an obsession amongst the British, which has remained throughout the decades. Notably, this instantly recognisable pattern was closely linked to the psychedelic hippy culture of the late 1960s and 1970s, whose followers turned to the east for spiritual succour and discovery. Today these designs are prevalent in this year’s folklore trend. Revel in this aesthetic with the patchwork and solid designs featured in Nike X Liberty’s new collection.
Shop the SS14 Nike Liberty collection from 7th April 2014, in store and online.
If you’ve been wondering, of late, where you can go to pick up the everyday essentials, you know, a fresh jar of Congealed Earwax, Damsel’s Hair, Organ Marmalade or even a top-up for your personal supply of Banshee Balls – then you’ve come to the right place.
Welcome, Monsters – one and all – to Hoxton Street Monsters Supplies, purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind! The newest arrival in-store at the Liberty Chocolate Shop, this frighteningly fun brand of sweets and treats caters to little (and not so little) ghouls and and terrors of all shapes and sizes.
Step into the furthest, darkest corner of our chocolate emporium and discover terrifying delights such as Zombie Fresh Mints, Cubed Earwax, Thickest Human Snot, Brain Jam ; no to mentioned the delicious tins of fear - containing the precise emotion shown on each label, prepared in the form of UK made boiled sweets which increase the pleasure of unease. Each tin also contains a specially commissioned story by an acclaimed author.
First established in 1818, the Hoxton Street-based store prides itself on its wide range of supplies and essentials for the alive, dead and undead. Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is run under license from the Ministry of Stories, a volunteering organisation in east London which helps young people with all manner of writing, through free one-to-one mentoring and writing workshops. All of the profits made from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies go back into the organisation to fund the Ministry of Stories workshops for young people. You can find out more about the Ministry of Stories here.
So visit us in-store soon – bring your little monsters, bring your big monsters – and satisfy their impatient growls!
The spring/summer 2014 Liberty Art Fabrics collection has finally arrived in-store and online! We’re very excited to announce that the entire collection has been dedicated to our beautiful and iconic store on Regent Street in London. Each floor has its own capsule collection of prints, which have been chosen and designed to represent and compliment the departments on that level. The whole range is a visual feast of forty limited edition prints created and curated by The Liberty Art Fabrics Design Studio, with contributing work by selected guest artists and collaborators.
Our fourth floor is home to our famous furniture, lighting, arts and crafts design department and magnificent carpet room. So, the prints in this collection are dedicated to interior design.
Annabel Elliot has worked within the Interior design field for the last 10 years and was chosen for her amazing decoration of Bovey castle and her talent for using print and colour in a way that escapes most interior designers.Ombrellino is an archive 1920s print impression from Merton printworks representing the Furnishing Fabric Department and is named after a house Annabel’s family used to own overlookingFlorencecalled L’Ombrellino. Annabel chose the design as it evoked memories of different places and is reminiscent of the end of the summer holidays and going back to school.
A hand-drawn design and repeat of abstract florals, created in-house with Stockmar crayons and representing the Furniture department.
Chosen by our archivist to represent the Arts and Crafts department, the design was based on an early 1900s design with references to Bianchini artworks and the Arts and Crafts movement.
A detailed hand-drawn floral chintz created with original graphite sketches, amalgamated into a hand-drawn repeat and then coloured with Faber Castell pencils. The design represents the soft furnishings department.
Isle of Wight
Created in-house with washes of ink and rotring pen to represent vintage style memorobilla that can be found in the RE shop. The design was inspired by childhood memories of theIsle of Wight.
Representing theLibertybook department, Phyllis is a hand-drawn floral inspired by a visit to an antiquarian book fair, and detailed ink and watercolour drawings in botanical books found there.
Libertyhas historically always boasted the best selection of Oriental rugs and carpets inEurope. Nomad’s distinctive geometric motifs represent flowers in the ancient graphic language of tribal rug tradition.
Heidi-Maria represents the British Modern print area within the store and the style of screen and lino prints sold there. The design tells a story of the many beautiful and intriguing shapes found in botanical plants in a fresh and modern way. All elements interact with each other creating an almost puzzle piece effect.
Representing the Japanese print department, Asaka was created with hand-cut paper floral motifs by Japanese artist Hina Aoyama. Currently living and working inFrance, Hina Aoyama has won multiple awards for her intricate paper cuts; her objective is to create her own world through this super-fine lacy paper cutting technique which she does with a simple pair of scissors.
The third floor is an eclectic department with a mix of fabric, haberdashery, children’s clothing, stylish gifts and luxurious bath products. The prints curated for this collection have been chosen to represent the elements of these eclectic shopping halls.
Queue For The Zoo
Representing the childrenswear department, these animals queuing for the zoo were drawn by OK David. David commited himself to drawing and writing when he was fourteen. Most of his stories feature animals, children and the menacing approach of evil. David’s perspective is that art and all things are best simplified and honest. All the animals in Queue for the Zoo were hand drawn and painted exclusively forLibertyand this collection.
A beautiful wild structured landscape of flowers featuring cow parsley, forget-me-nots, spring bluebells, cowslips and lilac, all hand-drawn and washed with watercolour by artist Josephine Gomersall. The design portrays successful past and modern styles withinLibertyprint history and was commissioned to represent theLibertyprint room.
This design represents the bath shop and was inspired by the vintage style illustrations on ‘Neste Dante’ soap wrapping, featuring broom, cherry blossom, basil, rose water, marine lily, florentine rose and peony. The flowers were hand-drawn in pencil to create a tonal shaded floral.
Capturing the essence of 1930s florals, which Liberty print is so famous for, this Delilah Cavendish is an archive pattern created in 1939 by ‘D.S.’ and re-worked in-house to illustrate the Tana Lawn fabric department.
This archive design, originally a scarf pattern from 1975, was chosen to represent the haberdashery department. The design was re-worked in-house to portray the beauty and intricacy of an old patchwork quilt, and re-vitalised to tell a new story.
First hand-drawn and then painted with inks,Willowis takes its inspiration from a wall of plates to represent the Dining department.
A print loosely based on two sun prints from the 1950s which were both heavily inspired by the Italian designer Fornasetti and representing the gift department. The final design was hand-drawn and created with rotring ink and stabilo felt tips.
Our second floor is where you will find our luxury womenswear labels, designer classics, designer vintage fashion and Café Liberty, so the prints in this collection were designed to be in-keeping with these themes.
Based on a 1930s block impression from the Liberty Merton print works, Jody has been re-worked in-house to represent the Designer Vintage area of the shop floor.
A miniature hand-painted floral based on bluebells and daisies representing the small detailed prints on sleepwear and casual wear that are in this department.
With a career spanning almost 40 years, Manolo Blahnik CBE has become one of the world’s most influential footwear designers and received the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award at the 2012 British Fashion Awards. His shoes have spellbound an international set of loyal devotees across the globe. Estella and Annabelle is a design of scattered roses and rose leaves hand painted by Manolo Blahnik and representing his own shoe department (now located on the first floor) within the Liberty London flagship store.
New British label ‘Draw in Light’ specialise in hand silk screen printing. Each garment is unique and produced in theirLondonstudio. The design duo were discovered in the February 2010 Liberty Best of British Open Call and their collections are available exclusively atLiberty. This design was inspired by landscapes and ordinance survey maps. Printing dyes were hand painted and swirled around on silk screens and then printed on to paper, small delicate trees were then added to create a landscape.
Jennie and Steve
Jennie and Steve was inspired by gladioli flowers from an archive photograph of the Café Liberty when it first opened and Willow style tearooms. The design was originally drawn onto glass using relief paste and then painted with glass paint.
Oscar was originally of a larger scale and called Harajuku; it is based on a 19th century paisley textile in the Liberty Archive. The design represents the International Fashion Collection on the shop floor due to the oriental nature of paisleys.
The first floor in-store is devoted to women’s fashion labels, including denim and casual wear collections. All the prints collated for this range were hand-picked to represent the mood of this floor and the fashions found there.
Hand-painted with inks in a successful new style for Liberty Art Fabrics and representing the Contemporary Fashion Collections department in the store.
Darby was created from two original hand-painted art works by a student from Central Saint Martins in their second year of the Fashion/Textiles course. The design was chosen by Aldene Johnson is a stylist and consultant, and she was one of the judges chosen to select designs set as part of a brief related to ‘Art Movements’ for the 2012 Central St Martins/ Liberty Art Fabrics collaboration. Aldene chose the designs as she is naturally drawn to the decadent aesthetic of Deco; the peacock feathers and rich colours reminded her of the lavish ornamentation of this movement.
A simple stylised print based on an early Liberty screen print from the 1930s , Gleeson has been re-worked in-house and represents the designer essentials on the first floor.
Selected by our head of production and based on traditional, classic style painterly roses from the 1960s, Ricardo’s Blooms represent the ladies Designer Classics department.
A contemporary swimwear print created with coloured inks dropped into a tank of water and photographed at intervals as the inks dispersed, forming strange and beautiful shapes. The shapes were then manipulated into a texture and overlaid with an archival rose to represent the swimwear department.
Representing denim and casual wear, Holly was inspired by dyeing and distressing denim to extremes. Multiple pairs of jeans were ripped in to strips, covered in multicoloured ink droplets and then photographed and digitally manipulated.
The street level of the Liberty store is home to our vibrant accessories, bag, scarf and beauty halls and the stationery department – all offering endless inspiration for beautiful and colourful designs. The prints in this collection were chosen to depict this.
Based on an anonymous textile from the Liberty archive, Jonathan represents the stationary department with its pencil shaving stripes.
Selected by our in-house scarf design team at Liberty London and re-worked in-house, Juno’s Garden is based on a scarf design from the 1940s that was printed at Liberty’s Merton print works.
Ptolemy Dean has been painting and sketching the buildings and streetscapes around him for 25 years; he records and celebrates the characteristics of Britain’s architectural heritage. A historic buildings advisor on the BBC2 ‘Restoration’ series, he also serves on the National Trust architectural panel and from 2012 he became the surveyor of the Fabric at Westminster Abbey. This geometric design represents the shop facade and is inspired by a wonderful line and watercolour painting of the clock tower in Liberty’s Tudor building.
Ptolemy Dean sat on a step opposite the shop on a late summer’s afternoon and hand drew his topographical sketch of the amazing neo-Tudor archway which provides framed views in all directions.
Representing the Central Atrium, The Atrium depicts a decadent theatrical shopping experience based on a design from 1972 – which itself was based on a book illustration. The design has a wonderful feel of the 1920s and is reminiscent of parts of the structure of the Central Atrium in Liberty today.
Jess and Jean
Jess and Jean is based on a furnishing design in the Liberty Archive from the 1980s which was inspired by designs from The Arts and Crafts Movement. The design was drawn using make-up from the beauty room: Nars’ Larger Than Life Long Wear Eyeliner in ‘Bourbon Street’ and Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil in ‘Cruella’; Shu Uemura’s eye shadows in blue and vivid green; eyeliner in liquid black; Water Perfect Water-In Cake Foundation and Laura Mercier Creme Lip Print in Nude.
This print is from an archive print re-worked to evoke the small pretty florals often used to decorate perfume bottles and representing perfumery.
Forget-Me-Nots is a design representing the contents of a modern Liberty lady’s handbag. Classic Liberty print address books and diaries are intermixed with every girl’s daily essentials. The design is a fun conversational for the Liberty Handbag room.
A design representing the jewellery department covered in bling and created photographically.
Below ground is our notorious menswear department, a much-loved shopping destination for London’s best dressed gentlemen that stocks some of the best brands in contemporary and classic men’s fashion and accessories. All the prints selected and reworked for this collection were inspired by elements of this shopping level.
A graphic stylised menswear floral overlaid on to a denim texture that was created to represent the men’s denim department.
A geometric for menswear based on a simple idea of using felt tips roughly sketched into lines, then chopped up and re-arranged in to a stripe.
Oxton is based on a small paisley textile in the archive that has been re-worked in-house to create a modern structured pattern representing menswear accessories and ties – a fresh and new way to wear paisley.
Inspired by retro fabrics and their unique weave structure and the shapes within it, the Torsten print creates an almost optical illusion of repetitive shapes. The shapes were simplified to create an international simple print that would be easy to use within designer collections.
Share your new season Liberty Art Fabrics creations with us using #SewLiberty on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!
This season, our vast emporium of unique and wonderful treasures and designs from all over the world celebrates its heritage and eclectic collections in the form of a special keepsake. ‘Liberty: British Colour Pattern‘ is a lavishly illustrated book that takes a look into the vaults and archives of our great store and explores the history of our remarkable range of products and prints. Including previously unseen photographs of pieces buried deep in our extensive archive, the book features 135 years of Liberty’s most iconic and groundbreaking textile prints, as well as its collaborations with contemporary artists, fashion designers and illustrators.
Head of Design for the Liberty Design Studio, Emma Mawston, was one of the contributors to the book. We caught up with her to find out how she helped the publishers and authors gather content from the archives and the Design Studio to retell the history of Liberty print.
“This is a historic album of pattern and design for all those who treasure anything artistic and inspiring – especially those who love Liberty. I found the early parts of the book fascinating and learnt wondrous things about Liberty that I was unaware of. It is a work of art to be read over and over again, and each time you pick up on something that you may have missed in previous perusal.
On pages 68 to 87 you’ll find my era of fashion fabrics. We started with hand printed colourways found in my attic, complete with peeling off paint (as we often painted over and over colourways to achieve the desired colour combination). We became masters of colour mixing and discovered which tints mixed best with which. Purple lake was a great base colour. I delved back fifteen years to pull out past collections to give an insight into the brief surrounding each. The most important and relevant collections which most represented each concept were then chosen to be published.
The first collaborator I worked with was Grayson Perry for autumn/ winter 2009, and I can’t think of a more amazing artist to have worked with. Not only did Grayson come up with amazing designs never seen before at Liberty or anywhere else, he also worked each design into perfect repeat by hand. The majority of textile designers struggle to do this. It is very fitting that two pages of the book are dedicated to Grayson where readers can view his sketches of original artworks for the prints Cranford, Sissy and Flo, which are usually only accessible to Liberty and high end customers. Since then we have worked with the most amazing collaborators, not all mentioned in this book but all contributing to the look and ethos of Liberty Art Fabrics.
Just about every designer who has worked within the Liberty Art Fabrics Design Studio has a least one design within the ‘New Direction’ section, representing the diversity of print within this era. We are lucky to be able to draw and research in the most relevant way for each collection, creating original prints from hand drawn artwork.”
Buy the book Liberty: British Colour Pattern