Sunday, 8 November 2015

Liberty in Fashion Part Two: 1970s-80s

Time for my second post, from the Liberty in Fashion exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street.  For part one see here.   The dresses and separates below are 1960s, swinging London, amazing large prints and vivid colours.

The 1970s are my favourite style decade and there were Liberty garments from throughout the decade.  Starting at the beginning, the A-line skirt in front and matching scarf are different substrates of the Bauhaus design by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell.  The influence for this print was a tapestry by Gunta Stolz for the Bauhaus in the late 1920s.  The skirt is heavy furnishing fabric weight and was for the Dollyrocker's boutique brand.  The scarf is silk.  The skirt seen to the bottom right is another Dollyrockers A-line, this time using Cunard print by Bernard Nevill who joined Liberty as Design Consultant  in 1962.  This, as with almost all the clothing was on loan form Liberty collectors Cleo and Mark Butterfield who have the most amazing collection of vintage clothing!

This dress is by AnnaBelinda, another boutique brand and fashion label but this time based in Oxford.  I had a little online chat with Jan of Isisjem who knows the area well and can remember the shop.   Belinda O'Hanlon is the founder  and she is giving a talk at the Fashion and Textile Museum as part of this exhibition on Wednesday 25th November, entry is free along with an exhibition ticket but needs to be booked.   Her designs have a Pre-Raphaelite, fairy-tale quality, very nostalgic, feminine and romantic.  This was an iconic style for AnnaBelinda and was repeated with many fabric variations.  The main body of the pinafore is cotton velveteen and the bib and pockets are furnishing weight fabric.  I loved this style and managed to find the same dress in velveteen with William Morris print for £40 in my size on Etsy, I snapped it up- photos to come soon!

The mini smock dress by a Welsh company called Noyadd Rhulen was a delight.  All in cotton twill, it features saturated  bright colours and an intriguing button detail on the shoulder.  The geometric print features little houses. 

I was in my element looking at these beauties!   A mix of boutique dresses, fancy design houses like Cacherel and some homemade.  All were stunning with a plethora of detail.  The silky bib dresses far left and right were AnnaBelinda designs.

The puffy sleeves were fascinating.

Close up of an AnnaBelinda design.

This was by another of my favourite designers, Jean Muir.  Her 1970s and 1980s designs often feature controlled and extreme fullness.  This was in silk. 

I haven't a record of who designed this suit, maybe AnnaBelinda again? The lapels and pocket details are quilted and it was from the early 1980s.  The skirt is mid calf.

I really was in dress heaven.  Part three, which is all about the fabrics, to come soon!
Needless to say if you get a chance to visit this exhibition it is the most wonderful experience.   It is on until 28th February 2016.  

sib blog


  1. Thank you so much for all the photos, I live in the US and I would not have had a chance to go. I am so upset I have traveled to London and passed "Liberty" so many times I was at the theater to see Michael Ball and I was afraid to go into the store because I would not have been able to afford it. Never realizing it had fabric.

  2. There are so many dresses in your pictures that I'd love to wear now! I am feeling very nostalgic!

  3. Thanks for posting as I have really enjoyed reading about the exhibition. Also very interesting to see how much we have simplified our clothing. The design details and amount of colour in these outfits is really inspiring.


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