Thursday, 18 February 2016

Looking at some lovely Liberty things

When the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London announced last year that there would be an exhibition on "Liberty in Fashion", I wondered just how long I would be able to wait before going. Much to my surprise, I wasn’t there when the doors opened in October, but instead I managed to wait until the exhibition had been open for over four months before visiting. 

The trip was well worth the wait - I chose a day when there was a morning talk on “The Influence of the East on Fashion at Liberty & Co.” by Dennis Nothdruft (the curator of this exhibition) and a lunch time highlights tour by one of the museum staff. Both events were most enjoyable and informative, and were a great introduction to the exhibition. The layout of the exhibition is a chronological journey through Liberty fashions from the 19th century to the 21st century and it was great being able to get close to the garments to see them in detail rather than them being displayed in glass cabinets.

The latter part of the chronological journey showed collaborations between Liberty and various designers. It was interesting to spot a designer raw edge neck line trim using Liberty fabric in this section and contrast it with a carefully hemmed and appliqued neck line finish on a garment from the 1940s.

After looking at Liberty designs from the past, for the final display of the exhibition we were treated to a hint of what is to come in the Autumn/Winter 2016 fabric collection.

An accompanying exhibition at the museum was the “Art of Pattern” which focussed on the work of Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell for Liberty from 1961 to 1977. Unfortunately for photos, this exhibition was in glass cabinets, but nevertheless, it was still a delight to see the various design stages of familiar Liberty patterns.

Even though I was expecting (and saw) lots of the traditional Liberty floral patterns, to my surprise I did spy a few patterns that made me think “Quilts!”.

If you want to see the exhibitions, there are just a few days left before they close at the end of February. However, if you can't make these, there will be a new exhibition opening in May on the designs and textiles of Missoni.