Liberty on Regent Street
Prior to the makeover, Liberty’s layout felt cluttered and slightly claustrophobic. Without losing retail space the shop has been transformed by installing big mirrors, uncovering windows, and opening up doors. The space is dotted with comfy sofas, creating calm zones for shoppers and their companions to take a breather and relax. Original design features of the six-floor store, like the wood paneling taken from two former Royal Navy ships and a central atrium, remain.
Liberty, located in Central London’s Regent Street, was founded by Arthur Lazenby in 1875 as an oriental-import emporium. Over the years, fabrics, f urnishings and decoration departments were introduced as well as jewelry, arts and crafts, and cosmetics, with a particular emphasis on eccentricity. Trendsetter Oscar Wilde once described it as “the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.”
Liberty has a history of collaborating with influential artists. Soon after it opened artists and designers like Aubrey Beardsley, Paul Poiret, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti helped produce its first range of floral prints. That relationship between store and artist has continued: The Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry — whose public alter ego, Claire, is a proud devotee of the store — is one of six contemporary artists working on the current range of fabrics. One of his designs is made up of a tangle of bicycles, another is inspired by the recent BBC costume drama “Cranford.”
For anyone who wants to create their own designs there is a fabric, knitting wool, and haberdashery section. Knitting, crochet, patchwork, sewing, and ragdoll-making lessons are bookable.
A respite can be taken in any of the 3 eateries within the store: a champagne and oyster bar; a tea room; and Café Liberty.
More Shopping in London
Need more Retail Therapy? Read on …