Liberty & Co
Silk and cotton brocade, silk satin, silk plush, taffeta
Museum no. T.17-1985
Made in Liberty's Artistic and Historic Costume Studio for a member of the Liberty family.
© Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Robe of silk and cotton brocade with a silk-satin front panel, silk-plush edgings and a taffeta lining. The puffed sleeves, wide cuffs and velvet edgings is inspired by plain, loose 16th century gowns. The woven sunflower and pomegranate motif was a recurring design on objects associated with the Aesthetic Movement and the subtle tones were popular 'artistic' colours used in both dress and furnishing in the 1890s.
In 1875 Arthur Lazenby Liberty opened the store in Regent Street, London, which is still there today. As well as specialising in importing Far Eastern and Indian goods, the firm commissioned designs from both new and well-established designers and craftspeople. The artistic standard was high and the store was patronized by artists and fashionable people alike. It became internationally renowned for textiles. Liberty's flowing materials were ideally suited to the artistic style, and the name `Liberty silk' became synonymous with the material used by all the dressmakers for this new fashion, whether it came from Liberty or not. Liberty also produced artistic dresses in their Artistic and Historic Costume Studio. These clothes were described as never being out of fashion.