Liberty was recently voted best shop in London by Time Out magazine. It’s always been a favourite; even back in 2002, when I was editing Time Out’s shopping and fashion section, it was raking in the awards for its shoe and beauty departments. Liberty continues to go from strength to strength because it has never rested on its laurels – and it could so easily sit back and rely on its history (135 years of it) and location to pull in the punters. Instead Liberty is constantly reinventing itself, bringing in the coolest, most desirable labels and developing their own exclusive ranges to boot. It’s wonderfully un-snooty as a store, and really feels like the heart of shopping London. Whether it’s tea, rare perfume, edgy designer label, madly expensive lingerie or even a sewing school you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the elegant surroundings of Liberty... and find huge pleasure in looking.
At the moment they have an exclusive range by Manolo Blahnik instore (and online, for accessories but not shoes). With everything from cute shoe-print lavender bags at £6.95 (great for gifts) to satin court shoes in brilliant yellow and lipstick red (around £420), the range brings a bit of Blahnik a little closer to us mere mortals… though the saner among us might balk at paying just shy of 100 quid for an umbrella, however pretty it is. Oh, and the knee-length Arctic goat-hair boots (£925) are surely just ludicrous, in so many ways. There are plenty of sleek and wearable court shoes, though, and the shoe-print fabric has great charm. And the velvet boots in sugar pink and midnight blue are straight out of a fairytale: The Elves and The Shoemaker, perhaps.
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