The iconic British brand unveils their new Chesham Cabinet collection...
In 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took over half of 218a Regent Street with three dedicated staff. Devoted to his vision of an Eastern Bazaar and determined to change the look of homeware and fashion, Arthur Liberty’s collection of ornaments, fabric and objets d’art proved irresistible to a society intoxicated by Japan and the East. Within 18 months the loan was repaid, the second half of 218a Regent Street was bought and neighbouring properties were acquired to house the ever increasing demand for carpets and furniture.
By 1884, Arthur Liberty was working with Costume Society founder, Edward William Godwin, creating in-house apparel to challenge the fashions of Paris. As a royal warrant holder dedicated to quality, Liberty also forged strong relationships with many British designers, most famously the protagonists of the Art Nouveau movement. These are traditions that continue today in the store’s commitment to inspirational, impeccably made goods and services.
Arthur Liberty’s most famous quote reads: ‘I was determined not to follow existing fashions but to create new ones.’ Along with his wife, Emma, he would take regular trips to far-flung places, sourcing products, materials and ideas, tapping into the progressive nature of the period he lived in. This pioneering spirit lives on in Liberty’s status as an innovator and a purveyor of the truly expectional, and has kept customers returning for 140 years.
Arthur Liberty’s legacy has most recently manifested itself through Liberty Fabrics’ Chesham Cabinet collection – a stunning range of interior fabrics and soft furnishings. ‘We don’t follow trends but are led by the beauty of our inspiration, our intuition and customer desires,’ says Emma Mawston, Head of Design at Liberty Fabrics Interiors.
Printed fabric is synonymous with Liberty; the iconic mock-Tudor Liberty flagship has housed stunning and original fabric collections since it was built in 1924. Created specifically to make customers feel they were entering a home, it’s a fitting vessel for the brand’s second ever in-house interiors collection.
To create the range, a small but dedicated team took particular inspiration from a colonial Indian cabinet, similar to those sold in one of the original Liberty stores, Chesham House. Travelling to Windsor, Holland and everywhere in between, the team turned the 1900s cabinet they had bought into a miniature house, and took this as a starting point for a 15-print collection.
Famous for beautiful fabric since 1875, Liberty has always held its own as a print house on a global stage. An extensive archive built up over the best part of a century and a half provides constant inspiration for the in-house team. Produced in Italy and the UK, each print goes through an extensive refining process before hitting the shelves – today you’d be hard-pushed to find more hand-painting, drawing and individual technique in a fabric collection.
Emma Mawston works closely with European printers and fabric factories to ensure the fabric and wallpaper comes out exactlyas planned, exploring print and weaving techniques to discover the best way to reproduce each design.
From hand-painting and scanning to working a simple sketch into a full-width repeat, an incredible amount of time and work goes into each design. A range of printing techniques are used, with each design undergoing the same rigorous process, whether screen or digitally printed. Bases are carefully considered and are worked to ensure the best representation of colour and detail.
Having just celebrated its 140th anniversary, Liberty is focusing on more in-house collections to sit alongside its fashion, beauty and homeware ranges. These include Liberty London scarves, handbags and accessories, Flowers of Liberty ceramics, gifts and home accessories, Liberty print nightwear, bath products and childrenswear, plus a whole host of collaborations with brands like French Sole and Manolo Blahnik. Liberty Fabrics continues to grow in-store, online and globally through wholesale, bringing Liberty print to the homes and wardrobes of customers and collaborating with new businesses.
LIBERTY REGENT STREET, LONDON W1B 5AH +44 (0)20 7334 1234