Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Prints Charming...

When Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto opened the newly revamped Liberty store on the 15th February, it marked the beginning of a new era in the iconic label's history. Whilst Liberty prints have in the past suffered from associations with mums and curtains, Kirstie Carey, managing director of Liberty fabric, has commissioned collaborations with a number of high-profile artists who have been busy designing new prints. Grayson Perry's alter ego, Claire, has graced the collection with a print featuring bicycles, and one inspired by the BBC period drama Cranford. Kirstie explains how 'this collaboration is a fantastic representation of how we reinforce our identity through both old and new ideas'.

Opening in 1875, Liberty began creating floral prints son afterwards, enlisting prolific artists of the time including Aubrey Beardsley, Paul Poiret and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. By the 1960s, designers like Mary Quant and Jean Muir had incorporated the prints into their work, to be followed by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Paul Smith who featured the trend in later years. Last year Cacharel marked its 50th anniversary with a Liberty print collection, copies of which will be in store in March. Sports brand Nike have produced Liberty print trainers in 3 styles; patchwork Dunks, Nina and Phoebe Blazers-but the popularity of the limited edition collection meant they sold out almost immediately. Finally joining Web 2.0, Liberty prints now has a facebook page; joining meant being being the first to find out when a new batch of the Nike stock came in on Saturday morning-if they've all sold out already too you can make a final stab at getting some through the competition on the website.

Floral fans amongst you have probably already noticed the Liberty print range of camis and knickers in Topshop- these are a forerunner to a number of pieces in the upcoming Kate Moss collection. Poppy, Kate Nouveau and Lilabell (named after Kate's daughter) are the prints that Kate's been working with- the final products will be on sale 2nd April-I've got my eye on the dreamy, full length, Lilabell dress. A capsule collection in floral prints is also on the way from A.P.C. due to hit the store in May.

And if there still isn't anything that takes your fancy, why not just buy up some fabric and make your own creation?Liberty Stitch runs various craft workshops, including a number of 'Learn to Sew with Stephanie Vickers' sessions throughout May and June. Just in time to make the perfect, floral, summer dress.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The House of Fairytales

Not only does this arts organisation have the best name, it also has a pretty great agenda. Artists Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis work with youngsters to create performances, puppet shows, installations,music, animation and more. They couldn't ask for a cooler, more fairytale setting than the depths of Shunt vaults- if you've never been before, the venue is tucked away under London Bridge- there isn't even an official entrance, just a tiny unmarked door in the wall; very Harry Potter. Fairy Tales offer endless scope for creativity and the reworking of classic iconography- expect a Hansel and Gretel gingerbread making factory, a macabre fairground, an alchemist's laboratory and a catalogue of King Midas casualties.Big names to get on board include purveyors of vintage fashion , Beyond Retro, knitting experts from Prick Your Finger, illustration magazine Le Gun and protesters from Climate Rush as well as screenings from the BFI. This 'Candlelit Matinee' will take place on Saturday, the 21st; for more details see www.run-riot.com. Tomorrow night H of F will be holding the private view of their sale of The Fairy Tale Art Collection at The East Room club. Its a fundraising venture for the youth orientated arts project, and includes work by Gavin Turk himself, as well as many other prolific artists, including Bob and Roberta Smith, Sir Peter Blake, and Steph von Reiswitz. The exhibition will remain open throughout March and April, for more details see Steph's blog: www.stephvr.blogspot.com. Last year the House of Fairytales organised an unbelievably cool sounding summer event to be held in the grounds of Sudeley Castle- The Festival of the Creative Act. Unfortunately it turned out to be unbelievably cool, in that it never happened. I still have my fingers crossed for this year, but if you go to their homepage you can see that the most recent update is still the cancellation notice for last year's event, so I'm not holding my breath...see www.houseoffairytales.org. Heres hoping though...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Sales and sites

I've just realised that this post is going to be largely Liberty orientated, yet again.I promise you, I am not on their payroll, just a big fan. Today a load of Liberty scarves went on sale via new Designer sale site Cocosa- the catch is you have to receive an invite to take part. I have 5 invites to give away, so message me if you're interested. Tomorrow night Liberty is holding the first of its Beauty cocktail events, where you can go and get a make-over in the newly revamped beauty hall, plus nab a free drink while you wait.And on the 17th, its the Liberty card holders' shopping event; a Liberty card is like the Boots loyalty card; it doesn't cost you anything to have one, you just get points whenever you spend in store. I've only spent enough to accumulate about 4 points I think. And then you get special discounts and invitations; like the  'shopping party' from 7-10pm on the 17th, and you'll still be able to get a 15% discount from the 17th until the 21st March. You can read Liberty's Spring magazine here: www.liberty.co.uk/fcp/content/NewsArchiveItem3/newsarchive      It shows you all the gorgeous new stuff the revamped store has on offer. Don't get me wrong; I still can't afford any of it, but God, its worth just eyeing up the pretties and watching people for whom the credit crunch means Harrods not delivering groceries anymore, walking away with their shiny purple bags. I realise this is a bit voyeuristic and sad, so lets move on to something that may be more in our league; the new discount site from the brains behind Net-a-porter. Promising to be a kind of online Bicester village(the designer outlet store which is dangerously close to my family's house in Oxfordshire)The Outnet.com opens soon- you can sign up already here: www.theoutnet.com. Hopefully the prices will be financial apocalypse friendly, none of this was£600, now £300 nonsense.Whaddabargain!Not.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Hush-keeping Mum

Mother's Day is approaching, so just thought I'd give a shout out to one of my favourite online stores, Hush, who are doing a special free P&P offer for the special occasion. Gorgeous chunky socks, cardigans, pyjamas and general lounging around attire arrives beautifully packaged in a gift box- this is the absolute fail-safe present.
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