Having lived in London for a number of years, I spent many a Saturday morning at Liberty of London looking for a little piece of Liberty to take home. And sometimes I even took a bigger piece home like Vivienne (my Vivienne Westwood coat). I have yet to find a department store quite as selective or as well curated. Its rather unflashy, unhyped cosmetics and perfume counters make it oh-so-alluring. No salesperson shoving perfume samples in your face, or worse, spraying you. (Hey, I already have my own perfume on-get that fruity scent away from me!).
Anyway, I digress. Now that I live in New York, I’m always looking out for all things Liberty and I’m sure you’ve all noticed that Liberty has teamed up with Target to bring you a whole range of items for you and your home. Well, this is all well and good, and I’m glad that everything is relatively affordable. A few words of warning before you go on your cheap Liberty spree. Most of Liberty’s famous prints were originally printed on their high-quality 100% cotton (Tana Lawn) or 100% silk fabrics. As well they should be. While the Liberty for Target range definitely uses their original prints, it doesn’t always use the fabric the prints were originally intended for. Of course, this is how it has been possible to make it affordable. But I do feel compelled to say beware the polyester pillows, dresses and so on. You might be better off getting a smaller piece of Liberty for Target in the form of a cotton scarf. These may not be Tana Lawn (I haven’t been able to verify), but they’re closer to the original than unpretty poly.
The point is don’t be fooled into thinking that Liberty fabric is only known for its prints; quality is a major factor. I am always glad when good design becomes accessible, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy Liberty for Target. It is cheap but you should still know what you’re getting for your money.
If you are willing to spend a bit more, many labels have used 100% cotton Tana Lawn Liberty fabric including Steven Alan and J. Crew and this season, 7 for All Mankind and Bensimon are amongst those using it for well-made, reasonably-priced clothing and shoes. If either your sewing skills or budget will stretch far enough, why not go straight to the source? You can get Liberty fabrics (or designer pieces made using the fabric) delivered here in New York from London. There are also stores such as purlsoho in New York where you can buy the fabric. And if your budget stretches all the way, just take a trip to London and set aside a Liberty day. I’m off to buy a Liberty belt online.