Peoples! Did you know there's a new book out about Liberty in the 1950s and 1960s?
To say that I want it would be an understatement. Luckily, I've pre-ordered it on Amazon (Amazon.uk also had it, but has sold out) and soon, soon, a copy will be on the way to me. (I can't believe they didn't find me and offer to send a review copy; somebody at that publisher needs a quick refresher course in online marketing, if you ask me.)
And in other fantastic Liberty news, Anna Buruma, the archivist for Liberty has kindly agreed to answer some questions for you, dear readers. I've put in the first batch below …
What do you think has been the most popular Liberty design of all
The most popular design is impossible to say, but there are some very long-lived designs.
Hera, the Peacock Feather design, first appears (not at Liberty) in the 1870s; Ianthe (the art nouveau design) was picked up by the Liberty designers in the 1960s and has been identified with Liberty ever since; I think perhaps the most typical of all the Liberty classics is Poppy & Daisy which was designed for Liberty in the 1910s and has been in the fabric range on and off ever since.
Liberty has made Tana lawn, Kingly cord, Jubilee wool/cotton, silk (does it have a name?) and jersey, that I know of … were there other fabrics, too? Flannel? Oilcloth? Some polyester in the 1970s that nobody speaks of now? Hemp, during the war?
Liberty has always experimented with different cloth bases: many different cottons from very loosely woven ones to coarse to tana lawn; different wools of which the most famous one is probably varuna wool; lots of different silks, we have three different ones at the moment; velvets, and certainly man-mades, from rayon in earlier times to nylon in the 1960s and polyester and viscose in the 70s, 80s and 90s. We don't have any man-mades at present, but never rule out any good bases.
Are there plans to put little biographies of any of the Liberty
fabric designers on the new Liberty blog?
There are no plans to put biographies of Liberty designers on our web site at the moment. Many of the earlier designers are in fact unknown as Liberty wanted to promote their own name rather than that of others.
What is the oddest thing that has ever been made from Liberty?
Lots of odd things: someone made a teapot that was sold in the shop; there was a Cacharel/Liberty sailing boat in a race in the 70s with a Liberty sail; there have been various marketing campaigns for Liberty fabric, for example one where Elvis's blue suede shoes were substituted by tana lawn ones.
Can you think of other questions you'd like to ask of Ms. Buruma? Let me know, and I'll pass them along …