FuturLiberty: Liberty Fabrics and the Avant-Garde

Thames & Hudson. Sept. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9780500026717. $60. FINE ARTS
This handsome catalogue for the exhibition at Milan’s Museo del Novecento and Palazzo Morando traces visual antecedents of Liberty of London’s 2023 FuturLiberty fabric collection. In their collaboration, the Liberty Design Studio and couturier Federico Fouquet turned for inspiration to early 20th-century art: Italian futurism and British vorticism rather than William Morris, art nouveau, and arts and crafts. Essays by art historians Coen and Cork and archivist Anna Buruma draw connections between Italian and British avant-garde aesthetics and the 150-year history of Liberty itself, illustrating how futurism inspired Liberty design director Bernard Nevill in the 1960s. As in Nevill’s day, the FuturLiberty designs are geometric rather than floral. In a time of disruption and discord, then as now, the visual language of the futurists and vorticists embraced the future as a source of hope. Full-page photos show concept paintings, designs, and finished fabrics in crisp detail.
VERDICT A must for libraries with strong textile, fashion, and design collections, this gorgeously printed catalogue reveals layers of history, art, and technology behind the production of Liberty’s renowned fabrics.
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