Liberty of London: from art nouveau to floral shirts.


Cool, lightweight, easy to iron, smooth and soft to the touch. Machine washable and colour fast. Liberty of London is an elegant fine cotton fabric with unmistakable original and unrepeatable prints. These prints often include flowers and elements from the plant world, depicted using waved, asymmetrical lines, alternated with fine, graceful curves in classic pastel shades that range from white to peacock blue and from brown to sage green. Let’s take a look at these fabrics with their timeless, exotic feel.


The origins of Liberty style

Liberty style, also known as Art Nouveau, developed in Europe in the late 1800s thanks to research by artistic and philosophical movements into a new expressive language that would break away from the canons of classic and applied arts. With the Exposition Universelle in Paris of 1900, this trend became more and more widespread, taking on different connotations throughout the world, as well as different names according to the country. In Italy it was first known as Floral style and then Liberty, thanks to Arthur Liberty, founder of the London store of the same name, which opened in 1875, specialising in importing furnishings, fabrics and other objects from the East. Arthur Liberty began to work with Art Nouveau designers and artists to create furniture and designs for fabrics which then became very popular in Italy, where the Liberty name was associated with new artistic currents. Liberty style, unlike the standardisation dictated by the industrial revolution, used the beauty of artisanal creations, basing its creations on the Art and Crafts movement and on the return of the nature’s magnificence as an expression of perfection and dynamism. This new taste brought with it a breath of fresh air that spread through all productive sectors, from architecture to furnishing, glass working, ceramics and graphics, and from manufacturing to new and decorative motifs on shirt fabrics.

Liberty fashions: from dresses to floral shirts. 

Liberty fabrics were soon being used to create dresses with simple designs that celebrated the natural shape of the female body, previously squeezed into corsets and bustles. A style that celebrated a brand new social freedom and which was immediately adopted by artists and personages of the period, with Oscar Wilde at the forefront. In the period after the Second World War, Liberty's delicate floral designs became increasingly popular, even for children’s clothing, with Mary Quant and Jean Muir among the fashion designers who first made Liberty the symbol of young, free and anti-conventional fashions, as well as shirts. Liberty fabrics have also been widely used by costume designers for both film and theatre, as well as by the best contemporary designers and fashion brands, from haute couture to streetwear.


Xacus has been using Liberty fabrics in its collections for some time, making unique floral shirts featuring prints on poplins with stylised plant motifs in bright, brilliant shades. Fruits, laurel wreaths, butterflies, birds and flowers all colour our delightful spring shirt collection that will make sure wearers stand out in their fresh, eclectic styles. See the full range at our E-shop!

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