Yesterday I was inspired to get out my small collection of vintage Liberty of London flower printed silk scarves after watching the French stylist Lauranne Plats wonderful scarf tying tutorials for Liberty of London. They are bright and cheerful colors and I want to have them ready to wear in the hope that it might someday actually become spring or summer here! It has been unseasonably cold, dark and wet in Seattle where I live this April, surprisingly even colder and wetter than London! Everyday of the last month has been between 10 and 15 degrees colder in Seattle than in London!
It’s reminding me of the movie Enchanted April in which a group of London women in the 1920’s pool their financial resources to rent a Villa in sunny Italy and take a vacation against their husband’s wishes! However, when they get to Tuscany, it is raining hard, but “It’s Italian rain!” So, inevitably, things get better. I highly recommend this movie! Especially now, if you need warming up and cheering up and at least a couple of hours of escape from dreary grey dampness.I watch Enchanted April every spring if I cannot get away! It is a good mini vacation and it also reminds me that this seemingly endless damp overcast is good for my pale complexion! I remind myself that the humidity makes my hair wavy which is actually becoming. And that the sun finally comes out in this movie, as it will here eventually!
Meanwhile , I am lucky to have inherited four really pretty vintage classic Liberty of London scarves in excellent condition. I can wear them rain or shine! They are good examples of the traditional designs the Liberty company became famous for so I am posting them here to share with other scarf enthusiasts.
I’ve recently been sorting out my scarves, bringing spring and summer ones forward and putting winter ones away, After watching Lauranne Plat demonstrate on the Liberty of London Scarf tying tutorials I was really inspired! I learned some new ways to tie and saw some stunning scarves! So, out of curiosity, I went to Liberty’s Scarf Store website to check on what new scarves they were recommending for this spring 2011 that has yet to come! They have beautiful modern designs available by many designers. And, fortunately, they still offer many versions of the traditional designs for which they originally became famous. Designs similar to these.
I have always loved Liberty of London’s ladylike silk scarves in tiny floral prints and paisleys. I grew up with them. Here is a sweet burgundy one with a printed “lace” border trimmed in traditional old fashioned English garden flowers including roses, cornflowers, and nasturtiums. Miniature bouquets, tied together with bows of the same printed lace are scattered over the rich wine background. This scarf is a 26″ square. I think this scarf is from the early 1970’s. The mannequins first two fingers are pointing out the Liberty signature very subtly printed in the printed lace border in the picture to the left.
My mother and my grandmother loved Liberty of London fabrics, regularly wore Liberty scarves and made themselves and me light and fluttery spring and summer dresses and blouses out of Liberty’s delectable floral printed cotton Tana lawn. I have fond memories of excursions to the department store to pick out fabrics for my summer wardrobe. I was always taken along to be sure I liked the final choices and to learn how to choose colors and appropriate fabrics and patterns that would work together. This was a very pleasurable part of my education! Everything they were trying to teach me really sunk it and stuck! We always went out to lunch afterward. I loved watching the women who went downtown to shop dressed up and wearing hats and gloves. It was a real dress up event for them! My mother told me that dressing up to go downtown shopping and out to lunch was a performance. Everyone you knew would see you and you should look as nice as possible. They carefully planned what they were going to wear each week! For them it really was a performance and they took it very seriously! They rehearsed for their performances as if they were fine actresses, often trying on the outfits they were planning to wear in advance to be sure all the parts went together perfectly. They were very elegant!
Some more things I remember from going shopping with them as a little girl to pick out fabrics. They taught me that Liberty’s floral printed cotton was the world’s best. I have always loved the floral prints. It was definitely the most expensive, both then and now, but it is well worth it! I fondly remember many of my favorite prints and the clothes they made out of them. I really loved some of my dresses. And the experiences I had with these women that included Liberty’s fabrics have influenced my life and stuck in my mind. They taught me to be an excellent seamstress, and designer, and Liberty was a big part of that. They taught me to dress well, and Liberty was part of that, too! They taught me to appreciate flowers and use them in every part of my life. Liberty was part of that as well. They taught me to shop for quality and not accept less. I remember, as a teenager, being in a prestigious department store with my mother looking through a rack of wool challis skirts and blouses, fabric from Liberty of London. She said to the sales clerk, “We’ll take two, one in each color.” I hadn’t tried them on, but she said, “I know they’ll look good on you and I know they’ll fit by looking at them and I know they are quality because they are made by Liberty.” She knew she could trust what they made. She was right. I wore those two piece dresses for two years and they fit perfectly. I wish I still had them!
To this day I very clearly remember particularly favorite Liberty of London scarf prints. This blue one with the paisleys was my mother’s. One summer she wore it a lot in San Francisco with a chic navy blue Christian Dior silk suit, a light blue Dior silk blouse, apple green jade carved squirrel earrings with diamond eyes, and an apple green Chinese jade carved bead and gold necklace. She wore a trademark pair of kelly green sling back Amalfi pumps, and a navy blue Christian Dior frame purse. Of course, she wore white Dior kidskin gloves with this. It was a beautiful outfit. This scarf is so pretty! It is the opening picture in this post as well. Below is a close up of the Liberty of London label printed amongst the flowers on the border of one corner. It is positioned to the Right side of the china lady figurine in the full scarf photo above. Liberty’s labels are subtly placed amidst the flowers or other designs on their scarves.
You can see more photos I have taken of Vintage Liberty of London Scarves and read more that I have written about Liberty of London’s Scarf Tying Tutorials with Lauranne Plat on my post titled “French Women are Famous for the Way They Tie and Wear Their Scarves.”