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July 31 2014

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5 posts tagged "Liberty of London"

Nike Goes Denim for Latest Liberty of London Collab

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What happens when an American sportswear powerhouse collaborates with a U.K. prints legend? We are talking about Nike and Liberty of London, who, yes, have collaborated since 2007, but for summer 2014, the two have done something extra special.

“Nike was clear from the beginning they were interested in denim looks,” explains Anna Buruma, Liberty archivist. “So we chose a number of fabrics from our archives which we felt best matched that description.”

Fabric and prints geeks out there, take note: From the vast and legendary Liberty archive, Nike chose “Anoosha,” a 1930s blossom and bell print; “Lora,” a take on a 1970s version of William Morris’ “Willow” pattern; and “Crown,” a paisley block print from deep in the archives.

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The patterns were printed on denim and remixed for some of Nike’s best-loved shoes, including the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Roshe Run, Internationalist, Blazer, and Dunk Sky Hi. Magnhild Disington, Nike footwear designer, explains her choice: “These prints caught our eye right away, but rather than jump on it at the moment, we stepped away from it all and thought about it. If the prints came back to us a few days later, we knew they were the ones. They became something out of the moment, and became something more enduring—which for us led to a more authentic, honest collection.”

“From the dozens, if not hundreds, of prints we presented to Nike, their selection of prints for us was fascinating,” says Buruma. “The way they combined it was not only delightful for us, but I think will be for our customers.” Given the empty Nike shelves in Liberty a day after launch, it seems she was correct about that.

Chinti and Parker Plays with Pattern

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Since it was launched by cousins Anna Singh and Rachael Wood back in 2009, London-based Chinti and Parker has offered ethically produced staples with a playful, and often quirky, appeal. This season, the brand teamed up with Patternity—a creative group founded by Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham that, as it’s name would suggest, specializes in patterns—to create a high-impact twenty-eight-piece capsule of black, white, and mint knit maxi dresses and separates. “Our signature patterns are usually more feminine, and have a bit of a sense of humor, while Patternity’s are more graphic and monochrome. We’ve never done anything like that before,” said Wood of the capsule, noting she met the Patternity team through a mutual friend at one of the group’s exhibitions. “It’s always good to collaborate, to see where different styles can take you creatively,” she added, noting that for its next joint venture Chinti will be working with London’s Liberty department store on a “quintessentially English” line.

Inspired by architecture, the merino wool and cashmere collection mixes polka dots big and small with diamonds, stripes, grids, and enlarged, blocked shapes. Wood admits that the retro-pop-tinged ensembles, like a triangle intarsia sweater paired with checked pants, make for “a pretty radical look, but I think that’s the best way to wear it. People are less afraid of patterns these days.” However, that’s not to say that those looking for something a little more classic can’t appreciate the range. “A very tailored trouser, or a simple black denim with a boot, looks great with something that is a little more trend-led on top,” Wood suggested.

To showcase their creations, the designers—who also revealed that they’ll be launching menswear this year—asked Zoe Hitchen to direct a hypnotizing film. The short juxtaposes the patterned wares with the geometric buildings that inspired them. Catch its debut, above, exclusively on Style.com.

A limited selection of the Chinti and Parker Meets Patternity collection is available now on the brand’s Web site. The full line will hit stores such as Selfridges and Net-a-Porter next week. Prices range from $145 to $800.

At London Fashion Week: The News Is Shoes, And More From Liberty

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Nicholas Kirkwood isn’t the only London-based designer with shoe news, it turns out. At the party i-D threw for him, Christopher Kane revealed that the heels on his Fall ’10 runway (left) are the first styles in a new collaborative range with Giuseppe Zanotti. And on Tuesday, at her traditional London fashion week tea, Charlotte Olympia designer Charlotte Dellal ‘fessed up that she’s opening a store off Bond Street in seven weeks or so. Come fall delivery time, shoppers will find satin-covered footwear in rainbow colors, vertiginously high or ballet flat, and each pair will come in a set with matching stockings, a first for the brand. “We’re not selling the stockings separately,” Dellal explained. “They’re designed to go with the shoes, tone-on-tone.”

London shoppers looking for a louder volume, meanwhile, should head to Liberty. The buzz in the U.S. has centered on the store’s collaboration with Target, which will bring Liberty-print apparel and housewares to both countries, but on Tuesday, the celebrations were for a different collab—with Milan’s 10 Corso Como. Liberty CEO Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye and 10CC’s Carla Sozzani co-hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the effort, which prints bikinis (below), sun hats, wallets, and scarves from the Milanese store with Deco-era Liberty prints from the archives. Yasmin Sewell, Liberty’s chief creative consultant and one of the driving forces behind the update of the store’s fashion floors, was on hand and took the opportunity to talk up the latest local designer to blow out the doors. “Michael van der Ham is killing it,” Sewell said of the designer, who showed his second collection earlier in the week at Fashion East. “We just got his first collection in, and it’s selling out.” Coincidentally, we’d caught up with van der Ham the day prior, at his stand at the New Gen installation at Somerset House, and he’d explained that one of the inspirations behind his collaged designs is a series of Warhol films composed of sundry, spliced-together footage. Van der Ham is on the laconic side, and he speaks softly, but it’s worth pricking up your ears: You’ll be hearing more from him soon.

Photos: Marcio Madeira; Courtesy of Liberty

Liberty in London Has Some Work Done

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“It’s got to be a bit mad, doesn’t it?” said Yasmin Sewell, creative consultant for the recently revamped Liberty store. “It is Liberty, after all.” After an extensive renovation aimed at modernizing Liberty and restoring the landmark to its concept shop roots, the store debuted its new look on February 15. “We’ve tightened our edit considerably,” Sewell explained as she led the way through the new Avant-Garde room, which devotes its space to designers such as Margiela, Anne Valérie Hash, Acne, Dries Van Noten, and Rick Owens. The former buying director at Browns, Sewell is also bringing Liberty up-to-date by locking down exclusives with designers such as handbag phenom Katherine Fleming (who will host a trunk show at the store on Wednesday) and jewelry makers Eddie Borgo and Pamela Love. But the Liberty heritage remains front and center: Tamara Salman’s store brand gets pride of place in the accessories department, for example, and the historic sewing floor remains intact. (Sorry, out-of-towners, quilting classes are booked through spring.) “I’m happy to say,” notes Sewell, nodding at the browsers paging through fabric bolts and hunting for thimbles, “that you can still get pretty lost up here.”

Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

a day in the life of: yasmin sewell, buyer for liberty of london

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Wednesday, October 1

8 a.m.

I’m not so great with early starts, but during Paris fashion week I need to break all my rules. I’m sure I’ll perk up once I see the extraordinary dresses at Balmain, which is my first appointment. I’m thinking I need to wear a nice dress today—I’m tired of looking like a slouchy boy. I decide it’s time for my new YSL stone wool jersey dress. The temperature dropped about ten degrees overnight, so that pretty much marks the end of my summer wardrobe until May.


9 a.m.

Balmain is out of this world—and so are the prices. One of the hardest thing any buyer has to do is work out which $25,000 dress to choose. And what size? It’s really a guessing game when you get to that level. The team at Liberty, including the CEO and I, deliberate over this for most of the morning without reaching a decision.


12:30 p.m.

Lunch with Antonio Berardi at Bouledogue. He’s one of the loveliest designers I know and a pleasure in every way to work with. We both eat some damn good swordfish with sweet potato. Batteries recharged for about two hours.


2 p.m.

I have an appointment with David Seeto, a personal favorite of mine. I’d like to order every dress I see. His color palette is divine this season—he has a way of designing the chicest dresses that are just so easy to wear all the time, with no expiration date.


3 p.m.

Meaning 4 p.m. because of the late start. It’s the Dries show. This is an important one to attend, as it’s a big one for Liberty. It’s not as strong on print as last winter and summer, but I guess he couldn’t continue that OTT floral print for yet another season. It’s still beautiful, though, and I know it will work well in the new Liberty space.

I find it impossible to feel grounded when I’m doing a lot of shows and appointments in one day. There’s so much around me that is capturing my attention and dozens of people to tune into…it’s hard not to come across a little scattered!


5 p.m.

An appointment with Acne, my other personal favorite. I should note that today is a particularly lovely day. It’s not always this pleasant, believe me! We are doing Acne’s first big space in Liberty when we relaunch next season. It’s a label that ticks every box—even boxes you didn’t know you wanted to tick! It’s a time-consuming appointment, as we are discussing their area and the many collaborations we plan to do together as well as the buy, which is usually a minimum two-hour appointment on its own.


8 p.m.

Back to my hotel, where I’m having a little dinner party on my private terrace. Just good friends, all of us here for fashion week. These kinds of nights take our minds off the job. There’s nothing like good music, great friends, and Hôtel Amour’s famous roast chicken to bring you back down to earth.

Photo: Scott Schuman