Liberty of London for Target

Arthur Lasenby Liberty was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1843. He was employed at Messrs Farmer and Rogers in Regent Street in 1862, the year of the International Exhibition at Kensington in London. By 1874, inspired by his 10 years of service, Arthur then decided to start a business of his own, believing that he could change the look of homewares and fashion.

With a £2,000 loan from his future father-in-law, Arthur Liberty took on the lease of half a shop at 218a Regent Street with only three staff.

The shop opened in 1875 selling ornaments, fabric and objets d’art from Japan and the East. Within eighteen months Arthur Liberty had repaid the loan and acquired the second half of 218 Regent Street. As the business grew, neighbouring properties were bought and added.

In 1885, 142-144 Regent Street was acquired and housed the ever-increasing demand for carpets and furniture. The basement was called the Eastern Bazaar, and was home to all things described as “decorative furnishing objects”. He named the property Chesham House after the place in which he grew up. The store became the most fashionable place to shop in London and iconic Liberty fabrics were used for both clothing and furnishings. Its clientele was exotic and included famous members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

In 1884 Liberty introduced the costume department into the Regent Street store, under the directorship of Edward William Godwin (1833-86). Godwin was a distinguished architect who believed in all aspects of art. He was a founder member of the Costume Society in 1882. His vision mirrored that of Arthur Liberty and they created in-house apparel to challenge the fashions of Paris.

In the 1890s Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers. Many of these designers were key figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements and Arthur Liberty was instrumental in the development of Art Nouveau through his encouragement of such designers. The company became synonymous with this new style, to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as the Stile Liberty, after the London shop.

The store became one of the most prestigious in London.

The shop sells fashions, cosmetics, accessories, gifts etc. in addition to its homewares and furniture. On July 18 2008, Liberty launched a transactional website: http://www.liberty.co.uk, selling a wide selection of products worldwide.

Liberty has its own team of window dressers and is known for imaginative and often surreal window displays, especially at Christmas.

Liberty of London, the shop’s luxury accessory brand, has made two important collaborations in 2010, one with MAC .  While I was unimpressed with the colors of the MAC cosmetics collection (it seemed way to similar to the Spring Coulour Forcast 2, The Corals, I did love the packaging very much.  It boasts LOL’s signature ditsy or lawn prints.

The sec0nd collaboration this Spring I found to be much more successful.

The Liberty of London for Target collection features bright retro and vintage prints emblazoned across the store on everything from ladies’ wear, home decorations, stationary, accessories, and girl’s wear.  Although I love Prince, I don’t wear prints, so as amazing as the clothing is, it didn’t appeal to me.  Thankfully there were SO MANY other choices.

Once again, these were taken on my phone!

I ended up getting a picture frame, a set of notebooks, and a scarf (which I plan on designing a quick look around to post later this week).  While I loved the bright clear colors of the floral prints, I was mostly drawn to the graphic black and whites.  The quality of the items I looked at was great.  I normally find Target home accessories to be really nice quality, and this extended to the frames, organizers, and other things.  The stationary was really cute (although maybe a little bit pricey for me).  The shirts and dresses were all made from the light, signature lawn cotton, so they were a little on the thin side and typically pretty hard for me to wear.  The girl’s assortment was a little more hearty and would probably last fairly well on an active little girl (and look adorable!).

The collection is defiantly worth looking into!

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4 Responses to “Liberty of London for Target”

  1. I wish that picture frame would fit my decor. Its totally swoon worthy. Sadly, I haven’t been very impressed by the clothes. They’re cute but just not my style.

    • Not my style either, but I still admire them. I might go get more frame, so a whole little vignette.

  2. Runaround Sous March 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I am SO loving the Liberty of London collection at Target right now!

    Couldn’t justify buying the ladies’ clothes, but I found a great outfit for me in the girls’ section of all places… Sweet Pea and Bleeding Heart flower fabric top in cerise and chartreuse— could not resist it!

    Had to pass up the dishes… couldn’t justify getting them as they don’t fit anything I have.
    I will be back for a quilt, methinks. 🙂