Jane Winkworth

What a Liberty ! July 07th 2015

Liberty is such an iconic store with a brand heritage famous in my family for the past four generations as my mother, myself, my daughter and my granddaughters have all worn pretty little dresses made from their delicately flowered lawn fabrics.


As I sit at my desk here at home in Surrey, I am looking at a photograph of myself aged three years old wearing a smocked Liberty print dress with a little white collar !

Almost a century and a half since Arthur Liberty first brought his unusual and creative oriental artefacts to his beautiful store to sell to the discerning clientele of London’s most elite and stylish, I was asked by Liberty to design and create a special collection to celebrate this 140 year milestone in it’s history.

I was greatly honoured a few years ago to have been asked by the Royal Academy to design a special collection of shoes to mark the Degas exhibition, but I think the request from Liberty has surpassed that, as this project is a designer’s dream.

My starting point was to decide on which of the many textile designs to focus on for my collection and so I chose the most classical of tiny floral prints that for decades have been Liberty classics.

Phoebe, Mitsi, Betsy, Emma, Floral, Claire Aude and I could not resist adding Stanley and Georgina as these are the names of two of my six grandchildren ! Together these prints took on a life of their own and I quickly had the shoe designs drawn up and sampled and the collection was shown to the Liberty buying team - they loved every one of them and bought the entire collection ! I was in heaven.

Next came the boxes and shoe bags - the classic lavender stripes of our signature shoe boxes were replaced with the images of the Liberty prints used for the collection and the matching shoe bags were all made by our own staff and a huge thank you to Ella and Denise for their wonderful workmanship in this task.

Now the shoes are flying off the Liberty website and Nordstroms in the USA have also bought the collection for their stores under our sister label London Sole.

Thank you Liberty for recognising French Sole as a unique heritage brand and for your praise and encouragement throughout this prestigious operation.

Categories: Fashion

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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice