Even though it's not a place for budget shopping, no one will stop you from "shopping" with your eyes.
Liberty is one of the greatest shops ever. I love everything about it – from the window displays which are always inspiring to its different departments hidden inside. Look at some examples of past window displays
It opened its doors in 1875 with only 3 staff members selling ornaments, fabric and objects of art from Japan and the East. The basement was named the Eastern Bazaar and was the vending place for what was described as “decorative furnishing objects”. The store became the most fashionable place to shop in London and Liberty fabrics were used for both clothing and furnishings. Some of its clientele were exotic and included some of the Pre-Raphaelite artists.
In 1884, Liberty introduced the costume department directed by a distinguished architect Edward William Godwin. He was a founding member of the Costume Society in 1882. He and Arthur Liberty, the owner of Liberty, created in-house apparel to challenge the fashions of Paris.
During the 1890’s the store built strong relationships with many famous English designers. Many of these designers practised artistic styles known as Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, and Arthur Liberty helped develop Art Nouveau through encouraging such designers.
The company became associated with this new style so much so that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as the Stile Liberty, after the London shop. The Tudor revival building was built so that trading could continue while renovations were being completed on the other premises and in 1924, this store was constructed from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The frontage on Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan. It is a Grade II* listed building.
Nowadays Liberty sells fashions for both men and women, cosmetics, accessories, gifts, homeware, and furniture.
There are a few special things, which can’t be seen in any other department stores such as:
- Liberty: Art & Design Prints which sells a range of beautiful screen prints by renowned artists and graphic designers. The new department is located on the 4th floor.
- Sewing classes (with wine served).
- National treasures department showcasing the best of British design by maestros such as Tracey Emin, Stella McCartney, Paul Smith, and Vivienne Westwood.
So come and explore! Those dark wood interiors feel very cozy and welcoming to lomographers.
London W1B 5AH
Main entrance is from Great Marlborough Street
Liberty is open seven days a week.
Monday – Saturday 10am – 9pm
Sunday 12pm – 6pm