Liberty London is not only famous for its Tana Lawns™, but also for its high-quality silk fabrics. It is even true that silk was the trademark of the British department store decades before cotton. When it opened its doors on Regent Street in 1875, it already had ‘silk’ on rolls. The British sourced and continue to source the high quality raw material from China, the centre of the worldwide silk production. Printing and finishing takes place near the Lago di Como, Italy.
There are two main qualities: One is the shiny Belgravia satin Silk™. The processed filaments are per se particularly supple, which leads to the typical shine. There is also a crêpe variant: Crêpe de Chine™ (crepe from China). For weaving reasons, the surface is more matt . Both types of fabric have this indescribably great drape, almost like waves running out on a flat sandy beach. In contrast to cotton prints, silk prints are much more colour-intensive. Another big plus: silk has a heat and moisture regulating effect. This means it cools in summer and keeps you warm in winter.
No, silk is not a commonplace fabric, but an exclusive product. The extraction of the fibres is complex and cost-intensive.
- Silk is an animal protein that is produced by the caterpillar of the silk moth
- When the pupation is imminent, the larva produces a silk thread up to 4 km long and wraps itself into a cocoon.
- If nature were to take its course, the butterfly would break through the cocoon after the metamorphosis and tear the silk thread in many places.
- That’s why cocoons are traditionally scalded in the early stages in order to kill the insect inside (no, not for the faint of heart, but this is an ancient cultural technique and in Asia it was practically part of the process of eating the protein-containing caterpillar afterwards – today this is probably not practised in this way any more, but we are not quite sure ;).
- When the insect is dead, the silk thread is unwound at a machine; usually several threads are bundled together to get a stable one.
- The yarn thus obtained is then chemically treated to remove the glue that the insects release with the thread.
- The yarns are also combed and sorted.
- Only the highest quality class is used by Liberty.
When the team in the Liberty Design Studio plans a new collection, they always go through the archives. The majority of the designs currently available are already ‘old’. The trend scouts may thicken a line or change colours, but most designs are not that new. This is exactly what makes them so appealing. The motif ‘Willow Walk’ presented here was created in the style of the classic Willow design by William Morris (1877). For the new edition, the willow leaves have been given lines reminiscent of embroidery.
Note: You can start right away and don’t have to pre-wash the silk. Please note the special care instructions!