One of the highlights of the Cordings ladies buying calendar is meeting with Liberty to see their new collection of prints. Their global reputation for iconic designs, carefully printed on superior cloths is second to none. With an archive that encompasses many instantly recognisable designs they are quintessentially British – producing often playful, timeless creations that transcend fashion. A shirt made using a Liberty print simply will not date and is the epitome of thoughtful slow fashion.
What makes Liberty cloth so special?
A Tapestry of History
The story of Liberty of London’s fabrics begins in 1875 when Arthur Lasenby Liberty established his eponymous store on Regent Street in London. With a vision to bring superior textiles and decorative arts from around the world to the British public, Liberty quickly became a hub for those seeking unique and high-quality materials. Throughout the years, these designs have been created both in-house and via collaborations with renowned artists, and from florals and paisleys to abstract geometrics, each Liberty design tells a story. Liberty fabrics are celebrated for their intricate patterns and vivid colours, each design can have countless different colours in it, each requiring a different screen, each printed separately on the fabric. To ensure the pattern is faithfully and accurately produced meticulous care is taken to place each different screen exactly where it should be – a process known as ‘registration’. The final step involves finishing the fabric to enhance its softness and durability, ensuring that every piece is a testament to quality and craftsmanship.
Cordings use two main cloths in our collection, Tana Lawn and silk.
One of Liberty’s most iconic contributions to the textile world is the Tana Lawn cotton fabric. Introduced in the 1920s, Tana Lawn redefined the concept of luxury in fabrics. Named after Lake Tana in Sudan, it was a finely woven cotton with a remarkably soft touch. The fabric’s smoothness and delicate drape were unprecedented, setting it apart from the course, stiffer cottons of the time.
Why is Liberty Tana Lawn so expensive and covetable?
The production of Liberty’s Tana Lawn fabric is a multi-step process that requires expertise, precision, and dedication. It starts with selecting the finest long-staple cotton fibres, which are meticulously spun into a lightweight, ultra-fine yarn. This yarn is then tightly woven to create a fabric that is both breathable and incredibly smooth.
Cordings Autumn 2023 Tana Lawn Collection
Formed from an intricate collage of postcards and hand-written letters – using details within the letters, including the stamps and franking, textures in the flowers have been built up layer by layer to create a dense botanical pattern. Team with our Wetherby tweed for classic British country style.
Inspired by a design in the Liberty archive, dating from the 1920s. It is one of the smallest in scale in our whole Liberty Fabrics collection – and has a highly detailed design. A sweet shirt that teams with cotton chinos and a chunky suede belt for a relaxed style.
Drawn from a 1970s paper impression discovered within the Liberty archive. Its scrolling foliage and stylised organic forms are typical of the Arts and Crafts period. For a relaxed country look team without an Eton tweed skirt and cashmere and Merino Scottish-made jumper.
Salters Forest is an enchanting conversational design, based on a Liberty archive print dating from the 194Os. A quintessential Liberty floral, wear with a relaxed cardigan and jeans for a relaxed daytime style.
While Tana Lawn cotton is celebrated for its comfort and versatility, Liberty’s silk fabrics offer a different kind of luxury. Lustrous and vibrant, the cloth absorbs the colour beautifully and brings a relaxed easy luxe feel to the garment.
Let’s take a look at the Cordings Autumn 2023 Silk Collection.
Drawn from a Liberty scarf designed in 1967, with delicate, detailed feathers coloured in deep, regal hues. Sits perfectly with our timeless Wincanton suit, reflecting the warm earthy tones of the tweed.
A striking design based on the classic myth of Icarus with its wing-like pattern, referencing an original 1980s Liberty print in their archives. Team with a pair of velvet jeans and a velvet waistcoat for an effortlessly luxurious outfit.