Liberty and Company, Ltd.
Liberty and Company, Ltd., British, Coat, ca. 1913-14, Silk jacquard, compound weave; Center back length: 124.5 cm (49 inches), Gift of Ms. Candis Dixon in memory of Marjorie Freeman 1987.067
In 1874 Liberty opened its doors in London as a decorative wares emporium specializing in designs based on Japanese art and Britain’s Aesthetic movement. Like the members of the Aesthetic movement, Liberty was interested in making women’s dress more comfortable, practical, and less restrictive than late nineteenth-century ladies’ attire. This coat exemplifies Liberty style. The peacock-feather fabric, associated with Liberty to this day, is based on an 1877 design by Arthur Silver. The coat’s cocoon shape points to the vogue for orientalism in Europe that followed the arrival at Paris of the Ballet Russes in 1911.