liberty in fashion

modflowers: Liberty in FashionI’ve never been much of a one for being invited to things.

When I was growing up I was always a one-best-friend girl, rather than a part-of-a-gang one. So I didn’t get invited to lots of birthday parties and sleepovers and suchlike.

And now I’m grown-up, I’m similar; not much of a social gad-about, never one of the “in-crowd”, a bit awkward, if I’m honest, at social events.

I’ve never really minded this. It’s just me.

So for me to be invited to something prestigious, and in London was quite a big deal…

By virtue of my doll-making exploits, I was invited by Sarah Campbell to the private view of the Liberty in Fashion exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

And it was wonderful!

modflowers: Liberty in FashionI had never been to the Fashion and Textile Museum before.

Created by designer Zandra Rhodes, it sits in a bright pink building on an unassuming little street, just around the corner from Guy’s Hospital and The Shard.

Unsure of how long it would take me to get across London, I arrived too early.

Although I’d had a vague idea of wandering about somewhere in London for an hour or so, it was pouring down, so I ended up disturbing Sarah’s lunch and sitting with her in the museum café drinking tea instead. modflowers: Liberty in FashionThe exhibition actually opens today (tickets are available here) and is on until next February. But I got a proper preview – before even anyone else arrived for the private view!

Alas, the combination of my not-so-wonderful camera, basic photography skills and reflections on the glass from the museum lighting means my photographs don’t really do it justice. Please forgive me.

You’ll just have to go and see it yourself.

There is a whole roomful of wonderful designs by Sarah and her sister Susan Collier, on loan mainly from Sarah’s own personal archive, which couldn’t fail to make me happy…

modflowers: Liberty in Fashion - Bauhaus fabricThe displays provide fascinating insights into the design process.

Finished fabrics are shown alongside their creators’ design notebooks, sketches and paintings, magazine clippings of the fashions of the day manufactured from them, sample sheets and even items of clothing…

modflowers: Liberty in Fashionmodflowers' dolls at Liberty in Fashionmodflowers: Liberty in FashionThere are lots examples of the beautiful colourful scarves for which Liberty is still famous today…

modflowers: Liberty in Fashionmodflowers: Liberty in FashionAnd then downstairs, there are the clothes…

They are amazing… from early twentieth century embroidered dresses, through art nouveau artists’ robes (the sort of outfit the word “Bohemian” was coined for!), to crêpe dresses of the 1930s in faded pastels and the pastoral-influenced “milk maid” smocks of the 1970s, they were all fantastic!

There are even some present-day designers represented, showing how Liberty continues to be an influence in the fashion world.

But they were hellishly difficult to photograph! I wanted a picture of a shocking pink 1960s cocktail dress with petals around the hem, but just couldn’t get a decent shot of it.

However, these were possibly my favourites…

modflowers: Liberty in FashionCan you guess from which decade those bobby dazzlers hail?!

Of course, as well as supplying professional fashion designers, Liberty has always provided fabrics for home sewing as well…

modflowers: Liberty in FashionWhich brings me neatly to why I was invited.

It was truly lovely to see my dolls, which are made from Liberty fabrics from Sarah Campbell’s personal archive, on display.

I knew they were going on sale in the shop, but I hadn’t realised that a couple of them are actually appearing in the exhibition itself…

modflowers' dolls at Liberty in FashionPlease excuse the somewhat grey photo, they are behind glass. Like precious things!

They all now have names, with the rest being sold downstairs in the shop (along with their specially-made bags to take them home in)…

modflowers dolls at Liberty in Fashion

I thought the highlight of my evening had come when I almost bumped into Kaffe Fassett, wandering round…

But then, as I was in the shop considering whether to purchase a Liberty notebook, I felt a tap on the shoulder…

Someone had bought one of my dolls! And one of the museum’s staff wanted to point me out as the maker to the lady purchasing!

modflowers dolls at Liberty in FashionThe purchaser was Susan Bishop, fashion historian and curator at Creative Fashion Forum.

I blushed a bit and probably gabbled.

But then, as I said, I’ve never been very good at social events. ♥

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liberty lads and lasses

modflowers: liberty lassesYou may remember that I decided not to thrill you all with my holiday snaps.

Instead, I sprinkled some vintage fabrics in and around my first back-from-holiday blog post...
modflowers: Liberty fabricsI also mentioned in passing that I was about to embark upon a new project with them.

Well, that project is underway in earnest…

modflowers: Liberty project-in-progressThe fabrics, I am proud to say, all hail from the personal archive of Sarah Campbell.

As a former designer for Liberty, Sarah is participating in the forthcoming Liberty in Fashion exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

And I am making some dolls to go into the museum shop as a tie-in to the exhibition.

modflowers: Liberty fabricsIt’s SO exciting!

There will be both boy and girl dolls, and they will all be dressed in Liberty outfits.

Which means I get to play around with lots of lovely combinations of these amazing prints…

modflowers: liberty fabricsIt’s a bit of a dream project for me actually. I mean, what could be better?

I’m really struggling to think of anything at this particular moment in time.

modflowers: liberty dolls in progressmodflowers: liberty fabricsmodflowers: liberty dollsLiberty in Fashion celebrates the 140th anniversary of the company. It will explore Liberty’s impact on British fashion from the 19th century to the present.

The exhibition runs from 9th October 2015 – 28th February 2016 and tickets cost £8.80 for adults, £6.60 concessions and £5.50 for students. Children under 12 get in for free. 

I’m really hoping to make it down to London myself to see it, having been a Liberty fan since the 1980s, when I went to London to visit my university boyfriend.

I spent many happy hours wandering around Liberty’s fabric department whilst the boyfriend in question was busy wheeling corpses down to the mortuary in one of London’s larger hospitals (he was a medical student and that was his summer job.)

modflowers: liberty dollsI will try not to bore you all too much with tales of the Liberty lads and lasses over the next few weeks.

As I’ll be working on them for a little while, please bear with me if I overdo the Liberty-love every now and again.

But I might just need to record again for posterity how lucky I am, whilst pinching myself every so often. ♥

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current crush

modflowers: marimekko autumn 2015I got an email from Marimekko yesterday.

One of those promotional things that I must, at some point, have signed up to receive, but which normally I just ignore.

But this time, I didn’t.

Because I fell in love, right there and then, with the clothes in the pictures in the email…

modflowers: marimekko autumn 2015I have had an on-off, love-hate affair with Marimekko for years.

Love the designs, hate the prices. Love the patterns, hate the lack of availability in this country.

These clothes have just brought that affair back into passionate focus…

modflowers: marimekko autumn 2015modflowers: marimekko autumn 2015Simple designs, eye-catching patterns, stylish and suitable for all ages – why can’t more clothing designers achieve this?

Still expensive and difficult to obtain in the UK though.

Now if they could crack those issues too, I’d be over the flippin’ moon. ♥

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