Liberty is a name synonymous with the very best of fashion, design and interiors and epitomises the British love of Avant garde; a love that has remained true to the vision of Arthur Liberty, the man whose dream and vision created an empire.
Born as the son of a tailor, Arthur Lazenby Liberty grew up in the ‘rag trade’ eventually finding his was to London as apprentice to a Mr John Weeks. He actively disliked this business and after a short holiday abroad moved to Farmers & Rodgers Great Shawl & Cloak Emporium in Regent Street.
He was 18 years old at the time and this step was to be the first of many taken to create the brand of Liberty, which was to become known worldwide for its innovate and unusual designs and fashions.
He actively cultivated the likes of the ‘artistic set’ in London and soon developed a reputation for his flair, talent and love of the Arts.
William Morris, Thomas Carlyle and Norman Shaw were regular patrons, as were many of London’s discerning elite. When the opportunity arose, and persuaded by his friends, he opened his first store, at 218A Regent Street on 15 May 1875, with four employees and generous loan from his father- in- law Henry Blackmore.
The business expanded rapidly throughout Britain and over the course of the next 100 years continued to be a flagship for good, innovate and stylish design. The concept embraced the many changes of Art Nouveau, Art deco and the earlier Arts And Crafts Movement amongst many. Liberty’s ability to appreciate good design was definitely an asset.
On his death the business remained in the family to some degree until 2000 when declining income and poor business acumen saw the Company sold off to the Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group.
But in June 2010 BlueGem Capital Partners bought the lease on the East India House property, the place where it all started and in doing so acquired the Liberty Arts business which thankfully allows the name of Liberty to continue on into another era.
The designs, amassing to over 43,000, are still as respected an sought after as they have been down over the years and provide a fitting tribute to the very long history Arthur Lasenby Liberty left ,when he set out to rewrite the book called fashion and exceeded beyond even his wildest expectations.
Martin Wood, through his research and love of his subject has bought Arthur Lasenby Liberty, his life, his love, his drive, ambition and above all else his desire to be different, to be the leader and to do so with the a good eye for design and a respect for his craft back to the forefront of fashion.
His delightfully easy way with words make the reading of this legacy easy to undertake and to be able to enjoy the unfolding of an iconic fashion standard, which was achieved through hard work and a keen instinct for setting the next latest, must have trend.
|Publisher||Francis Lincoln LTD Publishers|