Thursday, 4 March 2010

Popping swaps: Liberty of London hosts a trio of design collaborations through pop-up swap shops

Liberty of London has extended its design collaboration roster to include working with a trio of international retail names this spring – through shared swap-shop pop-ups in-store.

First to kick off and launching during fashion week on Feb 23, the London based retail brand has linked with Milan boutique 10 Corso Como for a mutually beneficial print collaboration realised across a limited edition capsule collection for spring/summer. Under the chic Milanese owner, Carla Sozzani’s direction, artist Kris Ruhs has reworked the iconic Liberty Ianthe print into a contemporary design that adorns shirts, swimsuits, hats, leather accessories, scarves ties or handkerchiefs. The pop-up area in-store is merchandised similarly to the Corso Como flagship and the product will sell in both locations for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile Liberty has also joined forces with philanthropic Paris lifestyle store Merci for a joint swap-shop – over consecutive weeks and with installations in both capitals happening from early March (4 March in Paris and 9 March in London). The Liberty-Merci pop-ups will sell an exclusive range of limited edition pieces, designed and created by Merci creative director Marie France Cohen. After immersing herself in the Liberty print archives she chose a selection of heritage designs that sum up the essence of Liberty for both the French and UK markets. Think summery floral sundresses for women, cute smock tops and flowery bloomers for childrenswear. Soft furnishings are a Merci strongpoint so there are cushions, specially commissioned sofas and haberdashery items too.

Last but not least is the grand daddy of retail design collaborations, Target. Liberty of London hopes to make inroads into the lucrative US market by partnering with the giant US value retailer – and following a value-nomics led strategy. The limited edition Liberty for Target collection is the US retailer's biggest distribution to date with availability at 1500+ stores. It spans fashion and homewares, picnic items and even garden equipment. The prints are bold and undeniably floral and the mass market priced collection will be on sale at Target stores in the US as well as Liberty in London from April.

This spring’s celebration of flower power is about embracing the democratic notion of design for all. Ed Burstell, Liberty’s buying director says: “The price points for our Target collaboration truly spread the Liberty look to all. Now designers and retailers around the world are recognising that by taking our iconic prints and applying them in a considered way to a garment or an object, they can create future classics, whether it’s a plastic beaker at Target, a standout suitcase at Merci or an exquisite scarf at 10 Corso Como.”

All three collaborations are well thought out brand synergies that benefit both parties. Through the swap-shop pop–up executions in each country, Liberty finds itself working with like-minded fashion and lifestyle brands and reaching a global audience on a localised level.