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Autumn 2020: Liberty Scarf Stories

Discover the archival Liberty artworks informing our new season scarves, with Design Director Holly Marler
By: Jess Johnson

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By: Jess Johnson
Liberty Scarf Stories
Autumn 2020

Liberty Scarf Stories

Discover the archival Liberty artworks informing our new season scarves, with Design Director Holly Marler

Shop Liberty Scarves

Inspired by hand-painted artworks discovered in the Liberty archive, and redrawn into brand-new reimaginings in the London studio, the new collection of scarf designs harken back to a world of richly ornate Art Nouveau and Gothic revival styles. Holly Marler talks us through some of her favourites, explaining how they were created with iconic snapshots of Liberty’s history in mind – reinterpreted into newly wearable works of art, fresh for the current season.


“The Bianca scenery print was inspired by the bold, poster-style prints created in the Liberty studio in the 1960s and ‘70s under the creative direction of Bernard Nevill. We decided to make a new version, using vintage travel posters and bold seventies florals as references.”

“We painted this scenery in the studio, including the cypress trees which are drawn from Nevill’s classic Liberty scene, as famously worn by Twiggy in Vogue in 1969. Three of our designers were involved in painting this print, working separately on the different sections before combining them together into the finished piece.”


“We were really inspired by a wonderful 1970s sales book, full of delicate ditsy prints on Tana Lawn™ fabric samples – we could just imagine them being sold to the avant-garde fashion houses of the time.”

“We wove some of these ditsy prints together with beautiful floral vines hand-painted in the studio, bordered by an Art Nouveau design from 1897. We encased in the whole scarf in a 1970s Liberty graphic wallpaper design, even painting the edges of the original screen artwork into the design.”


“Aurora was inspired by the technical processes of traditional screen printing – the bold flat colour of early painting steps, juxtaposed with the intricacy of hand-finished details. This print was inspired by a story told by my old tutor, who was taught by one of Liberty’s creative directors of the time.”

“To create the scarves, the designers would paint one quarter and hold up two mirrors at a right angle so they could see the completed square scarf. The archive often shows each quarter in a different stage of completion – Aurora’s gridded layout directly references these printing ‘stages’, finished by a unique fringed border.”


“A highly decorative archival print originally from the 1910s, Seraphina’s array of feathery garlands, rose bouquets and intricate paisleys creep into a cascading water fountain scene.”

“Each tiny leaf and flower of this romantic print was redrawn by our designers in the studio, as the original painting from 1910 was so detailed but also quite damaged.”


“Alicia is based on an Art Nouveau archive print originally created for Liberty in 1897. A much-loved design for Liberty, it was revived for various collections from the 1950s to the 1970s. The trailing lotus flowers and swirling foliage are contrasted with intricate stems, formed into patterned heart shapes."

“The scarf design is bordered with Pia. First created as a Liberty furnishing fabric in the late ‘60s, Pia combines all the elements of a typical Art Nouveau motif – like stylised, simplified flowers and a mirrored repeat pattern.”


“The Natalie scarf was inspired by trompe l’oeil art techniques, which use ultra-realistic imagery to create the optical illusion of objects being three-dimensional. The design was hand-painted in the studio from a still life arrangement of draped scarves, reminiscent of our wonderful displays in store.”


“We found this conversational print in the archive. First painted in 1981, each paisley is graphic and quirky in nature, filled with delicate drawings of our store and our infamous ship.”

“Highlighted by florals, stars, cherries and ducks, the lozenge scarf is trimmed by a men’s pink paisley tie design. With its bright orange hand-rolled edge, it’s perfect to wear on round your neck, on your head or on your handbag.”


"Rhonda’ is inspired by the graphic florals of the 1960s and ‘70s, in a celebration of the Flower Power era – during this period fashion began to embrace bolder and more stylised print design, under the influence of movements such as Pop Art.”

“We painted these bright graphic anemones in the studio. Once scanned in, we engineered the flowers to graduate from small to large, undulating like a landscape.”


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