Liberty of London
Blogger: Kirsten Mann
Liberty of London
As a seamstress, one of my ultimate goals has been to visit the prestigious Liberty of London store itself. Having seen Cruella just made it even more important- I couldn’t believe how glamourous it was! When the new dress pattern, ‘Liberty’, went into testing, I couldn’t resist the urge to make a Liberty dress to visit the Liberty store!
History of Liberty of London
Arthur Lasenby Liberty, who was born in Buckinghamshire in 1843, was employed by Messrs Farmer and Rogers in Regent Street in 1862, the year of the International Exhibition. By 1874, inspired by his 10 years of service, he decided to start a business of his own, which he did the next year. He borrowed £2000 from his father in law to acquire a shop on Regent Street with a grand total of 3 staff members selling Oriental goods and fabrics.
Liberty, commonly known as Liberty's, is now a luxury department store in London, England. It is located on Great Marlborough Street in the West End of London. The building spans from Carnaby Street on the East to Kingly Street on the West, where it forms a three story archway over the Northern entrance to the Kingly Street mall that houses the Liberty Clock in its centre. Liberty is known around the world for its close connection to art and culture and it is most famous for its bold and floral print fabrics. The vast mock-Tudor store also sells men's, women's and children's fashion plus beauty and homewares from a mix of high-end and emerging brands and labels.
The store is known to spot and champion young designers at the start of their careers, and many now-prominent brands were first available at Liberty. The store played an essential role in spreading and popularizing Modern Style (British Art Nouveau style). This continues Liberty's long reputation for working with British artists and designers.
Liberty of London Fabric
What is so special about Liberty of London fabric?
Liberty of London is a highly regarded brand that is renowned in the industry for its range of quintessentially British fabric designs. Each of their pieces has a timeless nature, which is proven because the early designs are still produced and loved just as much today.
Tana Lawn™ (Liberty’s trademark fabric base) is fine, cool and durable with a silk-like feel and brilliant reproduction of Liberty’s lustrous prints. Made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton, its bespoke process has been fine-tuned by Liberty Fabric experts over the last 100 years, advancing the product in pinpoint detail. Today, Tana Lawn™ is a process of continual improvement; a living, breathing thing that continually evolves as Liberty Fabrics refines its methods and works with new technologies.
Visiting Liberty of London
The first thing that really struck me was the sheer magnitude of the building. With its vast size and amazing attention to detail, it really is a showstopper. It spans across many buildings but never loses its special touch- its Tudor style. My daughter, Florence was in awe of the two huge stone statues outside the main entrance and was adamant she needed a photo with them (and that she needed to stroke them)!
Inside, the attention to detail continues with the most beautiful doors and staircases.
It is immediately clear to see why Liberty is so renowned worldwide – it is simply speaking, a masterpiece.
Of course, I headed straight up to the fabric department.
Well, it was like a little slice of heaven. Rows and rows of Liberty of London fabric on a variety of bases. My favourite to sew with is, without a doubt, quilting cotton so I headed to the relevant part of the store. This part of the store was also home to a range of different crafts pictured below. My favourites were the little beehive pin cushions and the vintage style suitcases. The sheer number of buttons was astonishing and made a really brilliant display.
As we wandered around the store, taking in its stunning features, we received lots of compliments on her Liberty dress! Flo was, of course, happy to do a twirl to anyone who showed the slight interest in her dress as she stated that it’s her princess dress and that she loves it!
Florence had the best time skipping through the store and took the opportunity to choose a new pair of glittery shoes (2 sizes too big!) from the childwear department. I loved looking through this section and deliberating which patterns I could mash together to create similar looks for a much smaller cost than the price tag. That really is the beauty of sewing, isn’t it?
Eventually, I made my fabric selection after (what Flo exclaimed) was a really long time. I’d love to hear your suggestions as to what to make with them!