Saturday, 12 September 2009

A short story about Liberty Fabrics

Once upon a time when I was a fresh faced bright eyed bushy tailed student, I was besotted with all things Liberty. Just about every penny I had was spent in that building. I thought it was a temple to the exotic, a shrine to all that was creative and unique,and all those years ago it was rather affordable exotica too. The haberdashery department was amazing, trimmings and buttons of the like you could not possibly imaging. And the fabric, have I every told you how wonderful the fabric was?

There was Tana lawn, Viyella, Velvet Devoré or the more esoteric knitted tubes of ribbed wool.

You could with some judicious pattern cutting, create some amazing outfits, which is what I often did.

Shawls too were all the rage during the early eighties and I had a substantial collection of various brightly coloured ones to wrap around in that romantic style so popular at the time.

During my college years we even got to tour the factories ‘up North’ where we wept as grown men wiped the grease off the printing presses with paisley off cuts, yet cruelly we were denied anything, nothing, not a skerrick. Too, too cruel.

When did this love affair stop? I know it was with a whimper, not a bang. But somehow my weekly visits petered out until they became annual, then not at all.

I recently posted about how many of the women featured on the Sartorialist blog stood out because they had festooned a plain coat with one or more scarves. I hunted high and low for some to wrap together. Nothing, absolutely nothing caught my fancy. Then a ripple of a memory surfaced, I remembered that deep in the archive of my resources at school, I had kept one very eighties tessellated patterned shawl and two skirts made of liberty paisley wool. Perfect.

Unbelievably, I found them. The skirts need unpicking, but it will be worth it to give me three new vintage scarves. Why vintage? Because as I discovered recently, the fabric department is so utterly depleted they appeared to sell only a minimal range of basic cotton. Gone were all the exotica.

Thank God I kept those skirts, because now this winter I will rock the plainest of coats.

Images are a montage of the 3 pieces of fabric twinned with some images of a recent Liberty window display

1 comment:

materfamilias said...

Oooh, you lucky thing -- a treasure trove, right in your own closet!