Prints Charming Exhibition at Liberty

Liberty, London

Written by Becky Cope

Liberty prints have become something of a British Institution in the fashion world, inspiring the current vintage scarf and headband trend as well as influencing designers to include whimsical prints in their own creations (basically everybody on the high street). Prints conjure up an image of refined country values, and have a truly English feel to them, reminding us of our grannies chicly riding their bicycles in winding country lanes after World War 2 (maybe that’s just my overactive imagination!)

Until 2nd September an entire exhibition is being dedicated to this quintessentially British item on the fourth floor of the London Liberty store, and Amelia’s Magazine think you should get in touch with your inner fifties housewife and check it out!

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Aptly entitled Prints Charming, the designs at Liberty’s exhibition certainly do what they say on the tin. Six designers were invited to contribute to the show to create their own unique take on Liberty’s iconic prints. Designs span from the pottery artist Grayson Perry’s enigmatic creations featuring tombstones, teddy bears, knuckle-dusters, swings, roundabouts and bicycles mounted on fabric, to uber-famous Meg Matthews’ teeny floral print wallpaper pieces given an injection of rock and roll heritage (like Meg herself) with snakeskin and skulls motifs. Other artists involved with the project include Paul Morrison, Mike McInnerney, Michael Angove, Anj Smith and Simon Hart, each taking an individual and modern approach to the eponymous Liberty print.

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The exhibition reads like a piece of installation art. In fact, art aside there is much more happening. Take note of the furniture and d├ęcor (mirrors, chairs, chandeliers and tables) coated in Liberty prints, heavily featured throughout the window display designed by Interiors company Squint. Not forgetting that the store’s entire exterior is decorated in the Betsy micro-floral print. The show also includes full size dolls dressed in Liberty rags, a Wendy house covered in strips of print by artist Helen Benigson, and vintage bicycles by classic bike-maker Skeppshult redesigned with a Liberty twist (complete with feather headdress!)

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(Image from: fashion-stylist)

Being an exhibition, the history of the iconic print is thrown in for good measure too. Documentation of the label’s historic collaborations can be found throughout, featuring modern legends such as Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, APC, NIKE and Kate Moss for Topshop. This is an art-fashion collaborative experience not to be missed!

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Everything designed is available to buy; whether that be in fabric, notebook, scarf, luggage tag, boxer short, wellie boot or lampshade form! With the endless list of talent involved, there’s no doubt something to catch anyone’s magpie eye. Several prints are one-off pieces made especially for the show, such as Matthews’ wallpaper, therefore ensuring a chance of grabbing a piece of history in the making. And who doesn’t love a bit of print patterning? After all, with the current revival of all things retro, Liberty prints are up there with shoulder padding and acid wash in fashionistas’ hearts! So get down to the exhibition before the opportunity to soak up the artistic atmosphere disappears (like most the stock will be sure to do!)

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