Liberty Prints: Five of the Best

Liberty prints are something that any fashion or art student from across the world will associate with British design. Besides being so distinctive in its quirkiness, it is also a story of true British innovation and industrial spirit. Surely Arthur Liberty had no idea that his idea of importing undyed fabrics and adorning them with locally printed Oriental designs would take off and become what it is today.


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Although it started off with abstract designs, tiny florals and paisley prints, the designs kept coming, and Liberty prints continually grew their range of cotton fabric. Here are five of the best designs.


This design looks like a mass of peacock feathers that have been laid on a plain background. It was named after Hera, the Greek goddess of marriage and women, as described in She is associated with peacocks, and hence that name was chosen. During the latter part of the 19th century, the Aesthetic Movement was very much in vogue, and peacock feathers were often used as a motif. Today this very popular retro print is revived in new and contemporary colourways.

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In 1933 a trail of roses was patterned on to cotton lawn. Felicite is derived from the word felicity, which means intense happiness. Mysteriously, the only known fact about the designer was that he or she had the initials D.S. In 2001 this design was printed again. Prints often intimidate people, but this classic print is so soft and subtle. It is important to remember that prints can be toned down when they are worn in combination with flat colours. Beautiful plain cottons are available from stores such as


This is a design that was undoubtedly influenced by the Orient. The pattern is intricate and was designed by Bernard Nevill in 1969. It is an interesting layout in the sense that the pattern is a combination of symmetrical and a-symmetrical design in zesty, vibrant colours.


Whilst rumbling through the Liberty archives for inspiration, the designer spotted a drawing from the 1820s. The old drawing was one of Persian-style pinks.


It is a big floral pattern in Art Nouveau style. It was released in 1960 as part of the Lotus Collection. The pattern is a combination of North African lattice design, Iznik pottery and lesser repetitions of Morris and Co.