Soon after the department store opened its doors in 1875, founder Arthur Liberty created the first fabric prints – and a cult haberdashery haven was born.
To celebrate the enduring popularity of Liberty prints, the store is hosting an exhibition, Prints Charming, together with The Art Collection, an exclusive range of fabrics designed by six established British artists including Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry.
The collection will be available to buy in-store and online by the metre, plus everything from bicycles and brooches to Wellington boots will be adorned with the classic micro-floral designs.
The exhibition itself will feature wallpaper and re-upholstered vintage furniture by Meg Mathews; fabric-wrapped furniture by interior design company Squint will sit in the window displays; and a fashion retrospective on the fourth floor will feature archive images of designers' use of Liberty prints, including Cacharel, Kate Moss for Topshop and Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony.
Make a beeline for the boutique by approaching from Carnaby Street – the famous Mock Tudor exterior is being decorated pavement to sky in the Betsy floral design – and be sure to peer in the windows on 8 August too, when Grayson Perry will hold court in a Liberty-print-clad cabin, decked out in a baby-doll dress made from, well, what else but his own Liberty prints?
The Prints Charming exhibition is at Liberty, Great Marlborough Street, London W1 (207 734 1234) from 8 August to 2 September 2009. For more information and to purchase fabrics, visit Liberty online.
By Harriet Reuter Hapgood