In 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future Father in Law and took over half of 218a Regent Street with three dedicated staff. Devoted to his vision of an Eastern Bazaar and determined to change the look of homeware and fashion, Arthur Liberty’s collection of ornaments, fabric and objets d’art proved irresistible to a society intoxicated by Japan and the East. Within eighteen months the loan was repaid, the second half of 218a Regent Street was bought and neighbouring properties were added to house the ever-increasing demand for carpets and furniture.
By 1884, Arthur Liberty was working with Costume Society founder Edward William Godwin creating in-house apparel to challenge the fashions of Paris. As a Royal Warrant holder dedicated to quality, Liberty also forged strong relationships with many British designers, most famously the protagonists of the Art Nouveau movement. These are traditions that continue today in the store’s commitment to inspirational, impeccably made goods and services. Celebrate Arthur Liberty’s legacy in our in-house collections of scarves, accessories and fabrics, and the finest designer fashion and homeware from all over the world.
The timeless elegance of Liberty
Liberty & Co. initially provided an eclectic mix of popular styles, but went on to develop a fundamentally different style closely linked to the Aesthetic Movement of the 1890s, Art Nouveau(the “new art”). The company became synonymous with this new style to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as Stile Liberty after the London shop. The company’s printed and dyed fabrics, particularly silks and satins, were notable for their subtle and “artistic” colours and highly esteemed as dress material, especially during the decades from 1890 to 1920
Our magnificent mock-Tudor building on Great Marlborough Street was built in 1924 so trading could continue while renovations were being completed at the other Liberty premises. Designed by Edwin T. Hall and his son Edwin S. Hall, the iconic store was constructed from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The frontage at Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan.
Designed at the height of the 1920s fashion for Tudor revival, the shop was engineered around three light wells. Each of these wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homely feel, and many of the rooms had fireplaces – some of which still exist today – in order to create the feeling of being in your own home. Sadly, Arthur Liberty died in 1917, seven years before the completion of his shops.