Wednesday 2 March 2016

Taking Liberty's

I am entirely in sympathy with Jenny Beavan.
I don't often do frocks, and I absolutely don't do high heels.
Would I have been brave enough to face down 
an Oscar ceremony audience in my  Sainsbury's leather jacket?
Probably not.
I think I should have been dressing in the early twentieth century.
Then I feel sure I would have been the epitome of elegance
and grace with a lifestyle to match.
Remember this coat?
I loved these gowns in the Liberty in Fashion exhibition
at the Fashion and Textile Museum.

 Sadly smocking and ditsy florals were more the vogue
by the time I was shopping for dresses
or making them myself.

I adopted a uniform of Levis, granddad shirts, desert boots
and a duffle coat as soon as I could
and the nearest I got to dresses were 40's vintage dresses
from Flip in Curtain Road.
I still have those, but not the size 8 figure.

I remember this Collier Campbell Bauhaus fabric,
but surely it was soft furnishing material?


  1. Lucille, I agree with you about Jenny Beaven, having seen her accept her Oscar Sunday evening. I realized that she was the designer I'd previously read about in the Fry comment ruckus. I very much like her style, and thought her acceptance speech was naturally great, too.

    Wishing I could have seen the Liberty exhibit. Maybe I mentioned to you that I did finally get to the Fashion and Textile Museum on my last London visit? I would definitely go back to see other great exhibits. I love the history of Liberty of London, and admit to being just a little bit saddened by its current incarnation. Even so, I always bring home something from its haberdashery area.

    I'm looking forward to seeing more of your Kew pictures as spring deepens. You are wise to have the membership there.


    1. oh sigh what have they done to Liberty's?
      I still have a stash of fabric - that I need to do something with!

  2. I loved my duffle coat ... and a weird pair of chisel-toed brown lace-ups that I remember as being made out of glove leather . And I do remember my mother getting increasingly depressed about both !

  3. I do not know who Jenny Beavan is but, picture 3 looks like my shower curtain and - my Chinese pyjamas.

    The last picture looks like a bad day on British Rail seats.

    Oh, and, Liberty is run totally by gay people.

  4. I liked Jenny Beavan doing things her way but I am not sure I would have had the nerve! I like to think I might have.. I think I would have liked twenties clothes although they are made for women who are flatter in the chest than I am. I loved my maxi dresses and skirts with high heeled boots. These days my hemlines are shorter and my boots are flat!

  5. Wish I'd seen this exhibition. Have not been blogging nor seen many exhibitions as I'm trying very hard to finish my studies. You mention dessert boots. From what I've seen, they're back! Was thinking I might treat myself.

  6. Catching up on your posts - what gorgeous colours and textures!

    I'm with Elizabeth on this one, floating maxi dresses (plenty of Laura Ashley, some of which I still have) and midi skirts with boots. A visit to the Fashion and Textiles Museum is now on the to-do list.

    1. Oh but sadly the exhibition is over now. I should have said.

  7. Liberty of London is not what it was. The last dress I made for myself used a length of blue wool crepe bought from Liberty to wear at an awards ceremony in Goldsmith's Hall in 1983. I no longer have the dress (it was a classic Vogue pattern) but I do have and still wear the shawl I made to go with it from a metre of Liberty fabric. A friend from university worked at Liberty during the holidays and was very generous with her staff discount - hence I lined my Millet's donkey jacket with Tana lawn! My style in the early 80s was classic Ralph Lauren - wool or cord dirndl skirts, chunky hand-knitted jumpers, leather belts, coloured tights and either Kickers or pixie boots. I've always loved Collier Campbell designs and my daughter currently has a CC design duvet cover. I've just bought new Levi's 30x32) because my 19-year-old daughter now fits into my 28 inch Levi's. I hang onto clothes for decades and the old jeans dated from the late 1990s. Isn't it wonderful to see Jenny Beavan and Mary Beard sounding fab in their 60s. I haven't yet listened to Mary on going grey gracefully but as someone who does not "dye" her hair I am looking forward to hearing the discussion.

  8. Oh how lovely ... I especially love the jacket or kimono in the fifth photo. Love the colours and the simple style.

    My first time visit to your blog ... coming from Five on Friday.

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

  9. Stephen Fry's stupid comment after Jenny Beavan accepted her gong made me so cross. What a snob. Who gives a stuff what she wears – it's her talent that counts. Anyway! I used to love Flip in Longacre – to a gauche teenager it was such an exciting place to visit. Sigh. Those silk gowns are lovely.

  10. The only good thing about my mother's having died is that I no longer have to worry about not being smartly enough dressed to make her happy. I am a natural shirt-and-trousers person.