A rare Liberty & Co aesthetic afternoon dress, ca. 1908. Woven yellow on white silk label “Liberty & Co, London & Paris”. Made of aubergine coloured velvet. Embroidered with Japanese inspired raised-work roses in shades of mauve and grey. Long velvet and lace sleeves. Entredeux lace in the chest area. High collar. Trained Skirt. Good to very good condition. Inner white silk bodice lining is generally good condition, but white gauze has been later added to the upper and closure edges for extra strength and protection. The skirt waist has been let out and near matching modern fabric has been added at the side closure. More velvet has been added below the waistline to enlarge the hips. The decoration is not included.
The London store Liberty & Co was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917) in 1875. The shop specialized in selling ornaments, fabric and objects from Japan and the Far East. The Liberty department store was crucial in introducing and popularising Japanese arts and crafts in the West and was an enormous influence on British artists and designers. The company became synonymous with this new style, at the end of the 19th century, to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as Stile Liberty after the London shop.
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 home wares and fashion.
With a £2000 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. Within eighteen months he had repaid the loan and acquired the second half of 218 Regent Street. 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 the 1890s Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers and studios such as Arthur Silver and the ‘Silver Studio’ 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 British Art Nouveau through his encouragement of such designers. The store became one of the most prestigious in London (http://www.archibaldknoxsociety.com/page_112141.html)
Waist: ~ 66 cm
Bust: ~ 85 cm
Front Length: ~ 135 cm
Back Length: ~ 175 cm