Friday, October 10, 2008

Liberty of London

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Bad, bad blogger. I must be the only blogger who made an amazing trip to London and didn't blog about it. For all of you out there who are planning Europe trips, move London up to the number one spot you want to see, because trust me you want to see it. I have been to Istanbul, Milan, Venice, Philadelphia, Washington DC, briefly NY and a bunch of cities in Turkey, and London is by far my favorite. Ok apparently I haven't seen that many places but my mom and dad have seen cities all throughout Europe and it's their favorite too.
I was very fortunate to have a collegue who took the time to take me to all the nicest design stores. My favorites were on Kings Road (SW3). There were a couple of antique stores there (that got me head over heels) which I can't remember the names of, but they were near the big Designer's Guild stores(at which I drooled a lot). I suspect one of the stores is After Noah because of the vintage telephones, but I could be wrong. On the same street were Design House Stockholm, which was like a candy shop for an industrial designer, and The Holding Company. Other than these small but striking stores on Kings Road, we went to a lot of larger stores as well, The Conran Shop(where I got to try every lovely design classic there was) was awesome, Heal's was ok. The highlight of Heal's was the Peyton and Bryne in it, which was the cutest bakery ever with the most amazing cupcakes. You must go there if you go to London. We went to a bunch of stores in 2 days, 1 day near Farnborough and the 2nd day in London. Our last stop together was Regent Street, which had an awesome Habitat, but most importantly Liberty of London.
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The store exterior. It is a beautiful Tudor revival building. According to wikipedia, the timbers used in this building were taken from 2 ships. It is the most original and stylish department store in the world.
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The building is actually very large and wide but the street it's located on is kind of narrow so the building never shows up in photographs as a whole!
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The entrance of Liberty is where they sell flowers and make flower arrangements.
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So this is the sight that welcomes you into Liberty.
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If you think they left the exterior original but modernized the interior, you are wrong. The interior is just as striking with the richest, warmest timbers, beautiful wooden beams, and exquisite fireplaces all throughout the building.
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There is a large open space in the center, with a glass roof.
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Look, the beams are visible in this picture. They do a pretty good job with dressing up this building into a luxury store.
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I was very fortunate to be there during the exhibition titled ‘Liberty celebrates 70 years of Knoll Past, Present and Future’ . I got to see so many design classics in such a beautiful atmosphere. The modern furniture contrasted so nicely with the old features of the building that it created a beautiful harmony of colors and textures. The pictures are not doing this exhibition any justice, I walked around the area 3-4 times, each time appreciating the beauty of each object. We see these pieces of furniture on the internet all the time, but seeing them for real made me realise that they are absolutely worth the high prices they are sold for. Amazing details, seriously.
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More of familiar design classics...
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The fashion area had such great pieces that I was drooling all over the place. I was literally in agony when I entered the bag lounge. I was cuddling a Marc Jacobs bag when I realised my collegue was gone. Everything, including Liberty's own brand was extremely expensive, luxurious, buttery and beautiful.
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As you can see from the pictures, they have great lighting in the store, some parts are even dark with only blue/purple light. This definitely adds to the experience and you feel like you're in another world.
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The shoe lounge. I could live there.
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There was a large collection of art as well. When I was there they had more modern art than the ones in this picture though.
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There was a whole floor filled with this type of small, gift-worthy stuff.
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Another quirk of Liberty is their fabrics. There was an area of light, soft, vintage looking fabric, and another area of classic shirts made from those fabrics.
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Most fabrics had this type of teeny-tiny floral prints in the sweetest colors.
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Portraits made with Liberty of London fabrics. See more about this project here and here.

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Please note that I didn't take any of these pictures as I didn't know it was allowed inside, and also because I'm too shy to act like a tourist. In fact, despite the consequences I'm glad I had ditched the unprepared tourist uniform of sneakers and raincoat for a much classier ensemble that day: BCBG dress, sheer tights, peep-toe platform oxfords. What a day it was, starting at 9 am, walking the streets of London until 10 pm. When I finally arrived at my hotel room I thought my feet had been mutilated for life, they don't look like troll-feet anymore but 2 months later they aren't completely healed either! {}
Oh by the way, by collegue turned out to be quite the gourmet. All the restaurants she recommended turned out to be delicious. Her recommendation of that day was Villandry. It is a foodstore, bakery, restaurant and bar. I am still having dreams about the french onion soup I had there. Highly recommended.

PS: I am completely in love with every place I went in Britain. Oh how I wish I could move there now! Say hello to a new Anglophile. I already adored their language, literature, music, cinema and fashion. Now I adore their weather too! Random fact about me: my mom was in her last year of college, majoring in English Literature when she was pregnant with me. I was born on her week of finals!
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Sources of pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-9-10, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14-15-16, 17, 18, 19, 20

14 comments:

timelesshome annika said...

Thanks for showing the Liberty I was there this summer ,did not take any pictures but the fantastic pictures in my main came alive with your lovely pictures.
I love your blogg and you are linked on mine
Sinceraly from a Swedish blogger Annika

karina said...

Now I can read it!
Great post, delicious "The End"!

Edi Style said...

I have been using there fabrics for years. Great blog!
I will be back

Ana Balbinot said...

Congats! You just receive the golden card award from my blog.
See it in A beleza de todas as coisas!
Hope you like!
With love
Ana

Fifi Flowers said...

Thank you for sharing! I've never been to London... so this was wonderful!

EMILIE said...

delicious post. such gorgeous photographs, so cool.
love your blog too.

lacouturiernyc said...

you are incredibly lucky! such beautiful photos...i wish i was there! =)

oliviaharis said...

With its beautiful Tudor frontage, Liberty of London is Regent Street's smartest department store. Shop for high-end fashion, accessories and beauty products before treating yourself to lunch at the champagne and oyster bar.
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oliviaharis
messsage marketing

kris said...

Alis,now I'm ready to commit the suicide!I've just been in London and I completely forgot Liberty!!!
Thanks gosh for your great article

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of those swatch portraits. Thanks for sharing the link. I'm a big fan of Liberty's too... Although I usually end up running into something that I really can't afford...

Down Comforter said...

gorgeous pics
beautiful

tanyaa said...

Known the world over for its classic look and quality feel, Liberty of London Tana Lawn makes a fashion statement or a treasured quilt. Calico & Ivy has stocked Liberty since our doors first opened in 1983 and we are proud to be one of the leading stockists of this very special fabric.
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Tanyaa
Advisor

richard esso said...

i liked your post. The photos are so wonderful as always.

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