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VM choice: Liberty prints take centre stage

Liberty’s windows celebrate its current promotion of the famous Liberty print Tana Lawn cotton in new and interesting merchandise.

The print collection is lovely, but has often been used in garments which have been fashionable for more provincial Brits. Exceptions include the beautifully made Saks’ crossover sleepwear range from 2014, and the continuing super-cool Chinti and Parker crossover merchandise.

The new print ranges offer a wider choice of colours and images, including clouds and lightening, pen sketches of the Isle of Wight, landscapes and ordinance survey maps, railway posters and more, all encapsulating the essence of the distinctive Liberty brand. The prints are mixed through a tone-on-tone colour spectrum. Developing new, very desirable, fashion and home crossovers with French Sole, Ugg, Nike, and many more, makes huge sense.

Each window features large arrows and graphic text reminiscent of newspaper headlines – a classic VM concept, as all VM is ‘news’ – as though we are seeing the original design sketch realised in the window. The slightly surreal collage effect is softened by a background of mixed mini-flower prints for which Liberty is justly famous.

The windows, designed by photography, film and collage company Gus & Stella, employ the gentle humour we often associate with good VM. In this window the handwritten script ‘All eyes on Liberty,’ with arrows, directs our attention to the upper, leaded part of the window, behind which a pair of giant print sunglasses rather coyly hides. Liberty’s VM team opened up the upper part of all the street-level windows last year, resulting in far larger spaces to give greater scope for display. As the store is a listed building, it would be impossible to remove the wide beam across the upper sections of the windows.

In this window a small screen repeats a range of Liberty prints, set in a window of multiple legs, all with feet clad in French Sole’s Liberty print crossover ballet flats.

Devoting a window to the universally useful oven mitt - and pairing it with a sleep mask, both in a Liberty mini-floral print - on a cut-out, stylized, 1950s iconic housewife is something we cannot imagine any other London department store considering. For promoting relatively low-value items with humble domestic and gift appeal it looks great.

Adding movement - a key trope for successful VM as it catches attention - the Liberty print bow in this window wiggles. The cut-out figure again suggests the perfect 1950s housewife. Clad in a pair of surreal, giant lips, worn as a hat, the figure is displayed against a wider range of prints including a monochromatic one.

Charmingly, the text and arrows refer to the array of mice, all made in printed florals and available in the haberdashery department, on the floor of the window. Here, the unlikely text serves to surprise customers’ into paying attention to the window contents, just as though the figure herself might be shocked by the unexpected presence of the mice.