A Visit to Libertys Store
As you know Naomi and I went to London for London Fashion Week...if you missed it here is the blog post...http://www.madfuncreative.com/blog/2016/2/20/london-fashion-week
Naomi and I had so much fun seeing and meeting people outside the fashion show. But our trip was also about visiting one of the most iconic stores in London, Libertys. This is mine and Caroline's favourite store and whenever we are in London we have to visit the store.
The store is 138 years old and has so much history and there is no better way to understand this historical gem, but by watching the fly on the wall documentary on Channel 4 called, 'Libertys of London.' It gives you a great insight in the running of the department store. The program introduces you to the staff at Liberty throughout all the departments. And its the dynamics between them that really make the show, all under the watchful eye of Ed Burstell the Managing Director of Libertys. The documentary is still available to watch online from the channel four website.
Anyway we had lots to explore and started as alway on the top floor the homeware department. There is so much to see in Libertys and its a great way of inspiring children to look at things and to see how design works. The store is a haven for inspiration and as you walk around one cannot help but touch the textile pieces, feel the luxury fabrics in the clothing department and smell the wonderful perfumes in the fragrance/ beauty departments.
Love the colours of these chairs....Caroline and I have been thinking about painting our chairs in the kitchen different colours...now theres an idea.
One of my favourite areas is the Oriental carpet department run by the wonderful Bruce Lepere whom you can watch in action in the documentary. Meeting him in person was a pleasure and so welcoming of Naomi and sharing his experience as a buyer and travelling all over the world to source the best Carpets and Rugs for Libertys. This department truly is a feast of inspiration for any budding textile designer, an aladdin's cave of colour and pattern. You can check out and buy the rugs and ceramics on their new website: http://www.libertyorientalcarpets.com
Naomi and I with Bruce Lepere surrounded by the beautiful rugs and carpets.
I love the cushions sold at Libertys as they are unique and colourful, especially the ones with the illustrated birds and all things fauna. After exploring the homeware department it was off to the furnishing fabrics department which for me is so inspiring seeing the Liberty fabrics as well as other well known brands. Each print has a story and thats why these prints are unique.
Our next visit was to the Haberdashery department where Liberty had their new SS16 Print fabric collection called 'The Artist'. Described as '52 new and original designs inspired by the world of fine art featuring illustrative florals, surreal conversational, instinctive abstracts and textures, colourfully curated in 10 stories.'
This painterly floral called Painters Meadow was our favourite, as you can see there was the painting on the wall and did you know that it is printed on a fabric called Tana Lawn named after Lake Tana in Ethiopia, bought by Libertys fabric buyer William Haynes Dorell after the first world war. It is Libertys best selling fabric. Even I learnt something new that day. I love how it is hand painted maintaining the brush strokes, the pop of colour on the black ground which is so on trend right now to.
As we continued exploring the Haberdashery department we came across all the beautiful colours in the yarn department. I love the greens and oranges in this photograph.
The first thing that struck me as we walked in to the haberdashery department was the big wooden bobbins of thread hanging from the ceiling. Again it was time to explore and to see what other gems of inspiration we could find.
Well we didn't have to go far and found these lavender filled bags in Liberty fabrics and glass jars full of liberty fabric covered buttons a great little gift.
I think Naomi felt like she was Alice in Wonderland exploring this world of pattern and colour. Some of the displays like the giant paper floral designs could have come out of a storey book. These displays are amazing and defiantly gave me ideas for a craft workshop with the kids. Naomi particularly liked the hanging tulip shape flowers.
We continued to explore and headed down the wooden stairs to the International Collections department to see close up the designers collections. This is where you can really touch and feel the beautiful clothes made by the designers and for me I wanted to see my favourite designer Dries Van Noten.
Its not the same when you look at clothes in magazines, to actually seeing them close up and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into these pieces, as seen here on a sequin embroidered top by Dries Van Noten, simply beautiful. Visiting the collections always inspires me as textile designer and reminds me why I am so passionate about fashion and pattern.
Well there is always time to do a bit of shopping to, as you can see like Daddy Naomi loves to shop.
Well after a great day of photographing people at London Fashion week and an afternoon in Libertys there is nothing better then having a late lunch and some ice-cream.
On reflection of the day I was reminded that it wasn't just about looking at fabric and colour but also we are building memories. Naomi and I won't ever forget this day. We had fun and laughter and we spent time chatting to. We talked about textiles, colour fabric and fashion. It was a day where we were both inspired, a day where we learnt something new about Liberty and its history. We met some great people like Bruce and learnt more about the rugs and where they came from.
This day truly was memorable and fun. I hope it will encourage you to have days like this.