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Liberty of London

by Carolyn Hopping (follow)
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If one single store could epitomise the best of British design, Liberty would have to be the one. Situated in the West End of central London, just a short walk from Oxford Street, Liberty has been a hub of English fashion, design and creativity for well over a century. Established in 1874 by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, the store specialised in ornaments, fabric and objects d’art imported from the Orient, and was an immediate success. Within a couple of years it was one of the most prosperous and fashionable establishments in London, with a prestigious clientele that included prominent members of the aristocracy, and several well-known Pre-Raphaelite artists.

Liberty of London
Image courtesy of Gryffindor / Wikimedia Commons

During the 1890s, Arthur Lasenby Liberty established connections with designers affiliated with the Arts and Crafts movement – a group who placed a strong emphasis on traditional craftsmanship as opposed to the mass-produced items that were flooding the market at the time. Over a century later, the store’s emphasis on high-quality British design prevails, and emerging artists and designers continue to be actively promoted by the store, alongside prominent household names.

liberty department store
Image courtesy of Gryffindor / Wikimedia Commons

Essentially a luxury department store, Liberty purveys a mind-boggling array of exquisite goods that will leave even the most jaded shopper drooling. As well as gorgeous designer fashion and accessories, jewellery, perfumes, furniture, homeware, stationary and gifts are also available.

london shopping
Image courtesy of James Petts from London, England / Wikimedia Commons

While many of these items are a little on the pricey side, if you’re a crafter or sewing enthusiastic, Liberty is definitely the place to head for to purchase exquisite fabric – especially the soft lawns known specifically as Tana Lawn Cotton (named after Lake Tana in Ethiopia, where the cotton was first grown) for which the store is so famous. If you love beautiful and unique fabrics, and are looking for something truly special for your next project, be sure to check out this range. Some of the store’s most iconic prints were designed by artists of the Arts and Crafts movement such as William Morris, well over a century ago, while new designs by contemporary artists keep the collection fresh and vibrant.

liberty tana lawn cotton
Image courtesy of James Petts from London, England / Wikimedia Commons

As well as purveying beautiful dress fabrics, Liberty also has a wonderful range suitable for interior design, as well as an exquisite assortment of wallpaper designs featuring contemporary and archival prints.

If you love the sound of Liberty but live on the other side of the world, as I do, the great news is that the store has an absolutely awesome online store, so you can purchase everything you could possibly want or need, regardless where you’re located. There are also some fabulous craft tutorials available online, although if you’re living in or visiting London you may prefer to attend the regular craft, knitting and sewing workshops that take place at the store every Saturday. To learn more about both the on-site and online classes, click onto the ‘At Liberty’ link at the bottom of the store’s website. Then click onto ‘Tutorials’, under ‘Sew Liberty’ in the column on the left-hand side of this page. These fabulous tutorials show you how to use the beautiful Liberty fabric range to create gorgeous handmade fashion items, toys, home decor and gifts.

london shopping
Image courtesy of James Petts from London, England / Wikimedia Commons

In conclusion, if you’re a shopping addict with a penchant for beautiful designer wares, a visit to either the Liberty department store (if you happen to be in London) or the Liberty website (if you’re not) is highly recommended. Great for some serious retail therapy or for a special gift for a loved-one, this iconic retail establishment is a top spot to while away an hour or two in shopping heaven. Liberty of London is located on Regent Street in London. To find out more or to shop online, visit the Liberty website.

Address: Regent Street, West End, London W1B

Website: http://www.liberty.co.uk/

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am - 8pm & Sunday, 12 noon - 6pm

#Great Britain
#United Kingdom
#West End London
#Department store

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