Liberty of London lands in Edinburgh

I once did a job I hated. I hated the long hours and the London commute, I felt queasy about the clients, I was always out of my depth. But when I left (to move to Edinburgh in fact!), they gave me a Liberty-print scarf. Pure silk, with prancing peacocks in rich royal blues and burnt orange. It's one of my most treasured possessions - and almost beautiful enough to make three years of being miserable at work worth it! Almost.

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Because to anyone with an interest in fashion and textiles, Liberty is a by-word for the most beautiful prints, on the most exquisitely designed fashions.

A part of the British landscape since 1895, Liberty was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, who declared that he was "determined not to follow existing fashion but to create new ones.”

And that's exactly what comes across in this small but perfectly formed exhibition. It may only be two rooms, but they're each packed with perfectly chosen examples of Liberty fashion and fabric through the past 140 years.

I love how the exhibition moves through the ages, from the earliest, Oriental-inspired silk, through the delicate printed florals of the 1930s, the psychedelic seventies right up until the present day.

Long known for its collaborations with artists and designers, the exhibition highlights the big names that Liberty has collaborated with over the years - from Mary Quant to Yves Saint Laurent to Vivienne Westwood.

There's also a Scottish angle, with a profile of the work of Marion Donaldson, a Scottish designer who brought Liberty-print fabrics to Scotland in the sixties.

 1930s tea dress

1930s tea dress

 1970s minidress

1970s minidress

And one of the true tests of style - as opposed to merely fashion - is that all the clothes still felt wearable. Lovely as my Liberty-print scarf is, I'm still daydreaming about a dress one day!

LIBERTY Art Fabrics and Fashion is on at the until 12th January 2019. If you love fashion and pattern, it won't disappoint!


If you are planning to visit during August and the Edinburgh Art Festival book your tickets HERE and for September onward then tickets are available HERE.