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Liberty London launches own-brand womenswear

London department store Liberty’s product director introduces its debut wholesale womenswear collection.

Following on from the launch of loungewear two years ago and swimwear for spring 19, Liberty London is launching its debut womenswear collection for spring 20.

Comprising 50 items, the designs take inspiration from Liberty’s print archive. Dresses are the focal point for the range, but separates and outerwear also feature.

In Paris later this month, Liberty will open its first wholesale showroom, where it will display its three collections to buyers during June.

Amelia liberty

Amelia Hornblow

Amelia Hornblow, director of product at Liberty London

It felt very natural for us to launch womenswear. We have seen a natural evolution of our products into ready-to-wear. Our loungewear customers are already wearing the robes over jeans and T-shirts, and in resort the wrap dresses are very daytime appropriate.

From a storytelling perspective, the collection allows us to tell the story of the brand and celebrate our prints, our archive and our history in a really complete way.

Holly Marler, our head of design, brings a very romantic and feminine feel to the collection. It’s about creating comfortable, wearable, but still very special pieces. We wanted to create dresses that you feel comfortable and relaxed in, but are still the best dresses in the room.

We have celebrated our archive in the designs, and we are using a lot of our best-known and famous prints: Art Nouveau references, and trompe l’oeil.

We’re also doing a lot of “engineered” prints – this means that the print informs the silhouette of the garment, informing the seam lines of the dress. This allows the print to contour on the body.

People have many different references when they think of Liberty’s prints – we’ve taken all those icons and found new expressions for them. We are also creating new prints and adding to the archive. That’s really important to us – that the archive and the design sensibility is a movement and is active. We’re putting things back into the archive. It’s very dynamic and artistic.

In terms of key pieces, our dresses are exquisite. A 1930s tea dress is my favourite in [Liberty’s] Ianthe print. It sounds cheesy but it really is the “day-to-evening” dress.

We are designing for a mindset rather than an age group: the artistic shopper and the creative customer. Our customers have an appreciation for finer details that are unique and hidden, so there are a lot of little references to our archive in the collection.

For example, on the edge of one archive print the words “Liberty Silk” are printed on the selvedge line. We have turned that into the bottom of a dress, the hem of a dress and a belt for a dress. It’s those hidden details we’ve taken from the archive, expressed in a new way and integrated into the pieces.

Retail prices for womenswear range from £350 for a cotton dress to £995 for a chiffon or silk gown.



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