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17-11-2007
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1884-1930s Liberty & Co. Costume Department
1925 RARE LIBERTY & Co., London Phenomenonal Beaded Velvet Evening Coat

source: antiquedress.com
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20-11-2007
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Quote:
Deco Liberty Lame Opera Cape, 1920s.




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25-11-2007
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Quote:
Liberty Gold Lame Sleeveless Shrug
French, circa 1920
With the main of ruched gold and black lame, a gold lame panel trim sewn to form armscyes, one size, labeled: Liberty/Paris/3 Bld des Capucines.
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27-11-2007
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Quote:
Liberty lamé evening cape, 1920s

Liberty & Co. of London, ("Liberty's") started out as an importer of Oriental wares, including fabrics. The company began producing its own fabrics in 1879 and soon became famous for its luxurious silks, which were most suited to the clinging robes and draperies worn by the artistic community.

By the mid 1920s, fashion taste and Liberty textiles had moved away from the nostalgic images of Art Nouveau to more streamlined Art Deco styles. Our cape features bold Deco-style gold tulips on a textured ground of black and gold. (Liberty & Co. was so closely identified with the origins of Art Nouveau that the movement was known in Italian as Stile Liberty.)

The gold threads have developed a beautiful burnished patina, which is the tribute that time pays to beauty. This superb period textile cannot be duplicated today. In lurex fabric, one cannot find the same subtlety and richness of texture.

The cape is totally lined with peach silk velvet. It has a wide hem border of gold lamé and a softly rolled collar with no closure. The label reads "Liberty/London/By Appointment to her Majesty the Queen."
vintagetextile
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17-05-2008
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Liberty & Co.
velvet burnous, c.1900.
Label: "Liberty & Co/ London & Paris."

vintagetextile.com

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23-05-2008
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Liberty & Co. (England, born 1875)
Woman's Day Dress, circa 1903
Raw silk (pongee) smocked and embroidered with silk

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01-06-2008
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Beautiful Liberty of London burnoose, circa 1903. Fashioned of a beautiful weighty champagne pink silk/satin and lined with same. It has wonderful Arts & Crafts movement hand embroidered front closure. Lovely handmade toggle embroidered button closure.
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10-06-2008
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Quote:
A Liberty & Co black and gold damask evening mantle, circa 1915, labelled Liberty & Co, Paris & London, woven with leaf clusters against a chequered ground, large knotted tassels to the sleeve openings, large gilt thread buttons and fringed hem, un-lined
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10-06-2008
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Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917) was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, the son of a draper. When Liberty was sixteen, he worked first for an uncle who owned a lace warehouse, and he then went to London to work in another uncle's wine business. In 1859 he was appprenticed to a draper, but the apprenticeship was ended after two years with both parties in agreement. He then found a position at Farmer & Rogers' Great Shawl and Cloak Emporium, a position that was to set him on the course of his life's work.

In 1862, Farmer & Rogers opened an Oriental importation business - one of the first such business - and Liberty was put to work in this Oriental Warehouse. Here he gained an appreciation for and knowledge of Oriental ceramics, textiles and other arts. After being the manager of the Oriental Warehouse for over ten years, and seeing no chance for advancement within the company, Liberty decided to open his own business selling Oriental imports. This shop, first called the East India House, was opened by Arthur Liberty in 1875. The original store was on Regent Street, and they sold mainly objects from the East - rugs, fabrics and decorative objects. Liberty was likened to an Eastern Bazaar, and it came to be a meeting place for artists, and in time became an important part of the Aesthetic Movement.

Within a few years, Liberty's Oriental fabrics were so popular that the store had a difficult time meeting the demand they had created. At the same time, the quality of goods being imported was starting to drop. Liberty began to import undyed silk, cashmere and cotton fabrics, which were then handprinted in England, in the style of Oriental fabrics. During this time the company developed a soft palatte of colors, which became known as "Liberty colors."

In 1884, Liberty established a costume department, in which clothing was designed and made from Liberty fabrics and which was in tune with the artistic philosophy of the rest of the store. Liberty maintained their own costume workrooms in which clothing was produced. The goal was not to make clothing that followed fashion; it was to make clothing based on historical costume, reinterpreted for the modern wearer. These were not clothes for the average tightly corseted woman of 1884, but instead were more in keeping with the taste of the Aesthetic Movement.

In 1890, a branch of Liberty's was opened in Paris, France, (closed in 1932) and another in Birmingham. By this time twelve cities in Britain had shops that offered Liberty products, and there were agents around the world who were associated with Liberty, including ones in New York, Boston and Chicago.

Liberty was one of the first to embrace the new Art Nouveau style in the mid 1890s. They became known for their textiles in this style, some of which are still produced today.

As the Aesthetic Movement began to lose favor, and the Belle Epoque was ushered in, Liberty saw the need to make fashions that were more stylish, but at the same time they continued to make classically draping aesthetic dresses. The catalogues became divided into two sections - Novelties for the New Season, which showed the latest fashions, and Costumes Never out of Fashion, which continued to feature the Empire silk gowns in classical style. This division of the catalogue continued at least until the mid 1920s

In 1925, a new store was opened in Great Marlborough Street. This store was in the Tudor Revival style, and it still houses Liberty. Also in the 1920s, Liberty began to produce small floral prints that became known as Liberty Prints. The best known of the fabrics of this time is the Tana Lawn, which is still a Liberty best-seller.

By the late 1920s, Liberty was considered to be quite old-fashioned, fashion-wise. In 1926, it was noted that not even the colors of the fabric prints had changed since 1920, and they were still using the out-moded term, "Costume Department" in reference to their clothing selection. In 1932, in an effort to maintain a connection with Paris, and to up-grade the image of their fashion department, Liberty's hired Paul Poiret to design for them, not realizing that he was completely out of step with the march of fashion. He designed four collections for Liberty's, in 1932 and 1933.

Over the years, many of the world's best designers have used Liberty fabrics. Jean Muir (who worked at Liberty for a time), Cacharel and Mary Quant are just a few. Many of these designs, especially those of the late 1960s and early 1970s reflected well on the Liberty legacy of romantic designs.

Today Liberty is still known for the fabrics and scarves that made them famous. They also have an in-house designer, Tamara Salman, while continuing to carry designs from other top designers.
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28-07-2008
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Liberty & Co. Marion Visiting Coat
English, 1905
From the Aesthetic Dress period, Directoire style, of black Orion satin softly constructed with lambswool padding through torso and long sleeves, the sleeves shirred at cap and cuff, wide square pilgrim style collar, cuffs and soft high waisted belt of ecru satin with concentric rows of embroidered black silk floss and clear glass seed beads, each with a medieval motif border in same, surplice closure with three round star embroidered satin buttons on left side front, creme silk satin lining, labeled: Liberty & Co/London & Paris.

See Barbara Morris, Liberty Design 1874-1914, London: Pyramid, 1989, p.51. referencing Liberty's lavish 1905 catalog Dress and Decoration. The illustrated garment appears to have a slightly different cuff treatment.
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28-07-2008
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Quote:
Liberty & Co. Art Nouveau Velvet Opera Coat
English, circa 1910
Of muted wisteria silk velvet with muted rose silk satin lining, referencing a cope with curved hem corners stitched to overlap back to front, shawl collar with elongated ecclesiastical point at rear concluding in a knotted purple bronze shot silk tassel, two self buttons at hip level on left side, the collar and hem overlaps satin stitched embroidered with wisteria silk floss and bronzed metallic thread in a foliate design incorporating pomegranates, a garland of same parallel with right collar at front, no size, labeled: Liberty & Co/London & Paris.
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