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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, B17 8DL

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Liberty Art Fabrics Jubilee Collection
LIberty Art Fabrics Heritage Collection
Liberty Art Fabrics  cushion selection

Back with a flourish!!!

This time last month my colleagues and I were chomping at the bit, keenly anticipating our visit to Decorex, the interior design trade’s main launch show of the year. The day came, and off we went down the motorway to this year’s venue Syon Park, thankful that we wouldn’t be subjected to the parking and all-round logistical chaos of last year’s show, which was held next door to Kensington Palace. Situated in West London, Syon Park is a comparative doddle for anyone from our neck of the woods to get to, but it did make me chuckle when one of the exhibitors told me that several of the London based designers had told them that they couldn’t possibly go all the way out THERE !!!!

Those of you who read last month’s editorial (sit up straight, both of you) will remember that I promised to regale you with all this season’s new goodies. So there we were, crossing the threshold into the exhibition arena, ready to be wowed and bombarded with the latest must-haves. We trawled the aisles, going from stand to stand with almost military precision so as not to miss a thing. And . . . well, we were a bit underwhelmed really. If you wanted an unusual wood floor there were approximately seventy million companies to choose from, or if you were after a crystal chandelier that was getting on for the height of a double decker bus (and no, I’m not joking this time) there were 2 or 3 to be had, but apart from that there wasn’t really that much to get the creative juices flowing.

Not much, that is, until we came to what for us was the shining star of the show. A product that by itself made the trip worthwhile. Liberty have re-launched their range of Furnishing fabrics, and oh my goodness what a range !!! Under the name Liberty Art Fabrics, it comprises 3 fabric and 1 wallpaper collections that draw on the wonderful Liberty heritage, combining detailed pattern and vivid colour in signature Liberty style.

The Heritage collection (it does what it says on the tin) is a celebration of the rich Liberty archive, drawing from the more than 43,000 original prints, sketches and swatches that have been produced since 1875. Decadent in detail and rich in colour, pattern styles are taken from the Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts periods. Two of Liberty’s iconic prints have been re-coloured for this collection. The famous peacock feathers of the Hera design first printed in 1900, which was associated with Arthur Silver of the Silver Studio, and Ianthe, a Liberty classic using highly stylised flowers in swirls. First printed in 1967 during the Art Nouveau renaissance, it was originally designed as a wallpaper border by French designer R. Beauclair, also around the turn of the last century. Thumbing through this book was like meeting an old friend who’d benefitted from a really good makeover.

The Nesfield collection is inspired by the British landscape architect William Nesfield, a major influence on garden design during the 19th century. His imaginative approach to creating serenity within a classic English garden encouraged Liberty Art Fabrics to produce a collection of designs celebrating botanical beauty and craftsmanship. Design detail and vibrant colour palettes are borrowed from Nesfield's most famous English landscapes. Turquoise greens and soft fountain blues evoke Castle Howard's cascading waterfall, while subtle tones of fawn, moss and golden yellow are reminiscent of spacious English parklands.

Quintessentially British with that distinct Liberty touch, the Jubilee collection’s designs are inspired by nature, art and architecture, alongside more prints and patterns from the Liberty archive. The decorative collection of 19th Century paisleys have been adapted from original scarf artwork, and re-drawn in stunning all-over repeats. Those who know me well, and have been subjected to one of my many paisley shirts will not be surprised to hear that this collection was my personal favourite. And as if that wasn’t enough, it also comprises graphically drawn roses, detailed cartography and classic Liberty florals, along with William Morris inspired designs such as the oriental fruit and foliage Mae Tree, and the re-drawing of Morris’ famous Strawberry Thief.

All the designs are offered on a range of beautiful base fabrics suitable for drapery, upholstery and accessories, including a sleek cotton satin, a crisp 100 per cent linen and a luxurious velvet. The papers also have a botanical feel, mixed with the traditional Liberty heritage, and are produced using a number of different techniques, giving them a real hand- blocked look.

I could wax lyrical about this collection til the cows come home, but why not treat yourself and come and see it in the flesh. We’ve got the pattern books in the showroom – you won’t be disappointed.

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - November 2014

Liberty Art Fabrics - Ianthe Flower Moleskin
Liberty Art Fabrics Nesfield Collection