Alice Stone is the creative force behind British brand and Liberty scarf hall favourite, Lily and Lionel. Named after Stone's grandparents, the label is making its mark as a producer of modern classics with a story behind each piece. We went behind the scenes at the Lily and Lionel studio to find out how a design comes to life, and what makes the creative team tick.
Where is your favourite place to work on your designs?
I love to be outside amongst nature. It’s not necessarily to literally design a print, but my thinking process always starts outdoors. You can see it in all of our collections – there’s a constant theme of flower and animal motifs.
Do you have a specific customer in mind when you design?
In terms of style, I always have in mind the two Kates: Middleton and Moss. Perhaps not an obvious pairing, but I think they sum up our brand style: part rebel, part lady. More than anything though, the Lily and Lionel woman appreciates pieces that are contemporary but will last throughout the seasons to become classics in their wardrobe.
What is your work space like? Do you go for minimal clutter or moodboards and organised chaos?
We were lucky to have our office transformed by my talented and dear friend, Kerri Lipsitz, founder of Old Brand New Interior Design. The space is a real mix of vintage finds that I have picked up on my travels like a huge, antique journal from France that sits in our showroom, and more modern pieces such as a framed scarf from our exclusive collaboration with the artist Thomas Campbell. I like to surround myself with things that are meaningful, from old family pictures of Lily and Lionel to trend boards for next season. They always make me feel inspired and creative.
Do you have any work-day rituals?
If I don’t have any meetings, I like to start my day with a morning walk across Hampstead Heath. The fresh air and serene surroundings make you completely forget that you’re in London, which is wonderful and inspiring. I’m also known for starting my day with a bizarrely-coloured smoothie. I make them at home and find they give me a real boost for the day ahead. I then can sit at my desk and make a list – I love a list, and in fact always use Liberty stationery – of all the things I need to get done.
What’s your weekday wardrobe like?
Simple, sharp and comfortable are my buzz words when it comes to my wardrobe. I always like to wear one of our scarves, which are so bold when it comes to print and colour that they are the focus of every outfit, so I keep everything else simple. At the moment my go-to outfit is leather trousers paired with an over-sized cashmere sweater and my current favourite scarf from our upcoming collection – but that’s a secret for now!
How do you translate your inspirations into the finished print?
We take our inspiration and give it a fantasy twist, whether that involves playing with colour, scale and proportions, or view. It’s a way of translating the beauty we see around us into a piece that reflects the world of Lily and Lionel.
How do your grandparents (Lily and Lionel) influence your designs on a day-to-day basis?
Their influence is an overall sense of wanting to create a timeless piece for people to keep forever. I do always have my grandpa Lionel in mind when we’re picking out fabrics for each piece during the design process. He supplied apparel to some of London’s most glamorous stores and really knew his stuff when it came to textiles. We pick the best fabrics we can find so that each scarf feels lovely to bundle up in.
Had you bought anything from the Liberty Scarf Hall before you were stocked there yourself?
In my pre-Lily and Lionel student days, sadly my finances wouldn’t allow it but I would regularly go and wistfully gaze at all the beautiful pieces – all the staff were very patient with me! Now it’s a dream come true to be stocked in the renowned Scarf Hall. I love the edit – there isn’t an overwhelming number of pieces to choose from but it still offers a great range. Plus, being housed in a beautiful British institution makes the entire experience of shopping there unforgettable. Liberty is a wonderful place to get lost in as a child. I remember going with my mother and getting in trouble for running off to go and play with the products in the beauty department.
Which aspects of your designs do you think resonate most with Liberty values?
I think the fact that we are a British heritage brand really fits into the rich history of Liberty and its status as a British institution. That was evident when we had the pleasure of launching our collaboration with the photographer David Bebber in the Scarf Hall a few years ago. The collection was all about the joys of the British seaside and sold out immediately. As well as that, Liberty has an incredible reputation for being selective when it comes to luxury, and we have the same attitude when it comes to finding the very best fabrics and creating unique prints.