Evening cape

Designer Liberty & Co. British

Not on view

Liberty & Co. founded in London in 1875 by Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917) as a retailer specializing in goods from the Orient and Far East, became strongly influenced by the Aesthetic Movement, and later, was associated with the Art Nouveau style. The retailer, an advocate of affordable and distinctive design, not only imported items, but also tapped English designers of the day to produce furniture, household goods, and fine textiles. In 1884, Liberty opened a costume department headed by Edward William Godwin (1833-86), an architect and proponent of the Liberty philosophy. The Liberty workrooms created garments that defied Paris fashion, inspired instead by artistic movements, dress reform, and non-Western costume.

Produced in one of Liberty's trademark high-quality silks, the rich yellow satin of this cape is draped in the fashion of Middle Eastern outerwear. Its elegant simplicity is relieved by the distinctive curvilinear pattern of overlapping silk cord that sinuously loops around itself. It is a good early 20th-century example of the Art Nouveau design that was synonymous with Liberty & Co.

Evening cape, Liberty & Co. (British, founded London, 1875), wool, silk, British

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