Liberty’s New Age

21/05/2010

The Times reported yesterday that Liberty, the much-loved London store, has been sold to new owners (rejoice!) It is interesting to note this comes in the same month as the recent sale of Harrods, signalling new beginnings for two internationally renowned retail destinations.

Harrods is by far the most famous of the two – its motto is Everything, for Everyone, Everywhere. It has over a million square feet of selling space (compared to around 60,ooo sq. ft at Liberty). It is luxurious in an opulent, theatrical manner attracting both serious high spenders and legions of tourists (it is one of London’s most visited “attractions”). Like virtually every store of its size, much of the space is given over to concessions, effectively making it a rather glitzy shopping mall and a landlord rather than a retailer.

Liberty is by contrast like a large boutique, infused with its own spirit and perspective. Unlike a concession-lead model, where the individual brands call the shots in their marked-out, branded square-footage (which all look the same wherever you are in the world), Liberty itself buys most of what it sells. Their own talented buyers distill the collections from a cohesive point of view to offer customers Liberty’s own take on the season. The store does not permit the installation of generic, branded points-of-sale, thus creating a design-lead, harmonious environment and incredible sense of place – you know wherever you look that you are shopping at Liberty unlike at Harrods and Selfridges where you can so easily forget which store you are in – or worse that you have become trapped in an airport or indeed in some other world city altogether.

I absolutely LOVE Liberty for its uniqueness and am truly excited about the prospect of new ownership. Recent triumphs for the store include the fabulous Liberty x Hermes collaboration, in which Hermes created a series of limited edition scarves using Liberty print fabrics screen-printed with their own ex-libris design and sold them in their first pop-up shop (the version I bought pictured above) and notable collaborations with Fred Perry (out at the moment in menswear), Merci (the Parisien concept boutique), and their current work with Target.

My advice is to sign up for a loyalty card (the only one really worth having for discounts and invitations to shopping events) and go spend spend spend!

Liberty
Great Marlborough Street, London W1
www.liberty.co.uk


picture – Liberty of London x Hermes.

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2 Responses to “Liberty’s New Age”

  1. Hugh Wright Says:

    Marvellous point of view as ever Mr Client, and as ever one I wholeheartedly endorse. I absolutely depend on Liberty for fragrance, shoes, fashion and gifts – as you so rightly say it is like a particularly large and delicious boutique.

    I do hope that the new owners will not do too much to change the incredibly successful formula put in place bty CEO Geoffroye de la Bourdonnaye and creative director Yasmin Sewell.


  2. […] the pumpkin-inspired waves and dots of Kusama onto their house monogram canvas… Much like the Hermes x Liberty collaboration of many a moon ago where the Ex Libris Hermes print was overlaid onto vintage Liberty […]


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