FuturLiberty: the Iconic New Collection

Words by
Sphere Editors

15th May 2023

We all love Liberty London's iconic Tana Lawn's pretty florals, but the newest collection FuturLiberty offers a new style direction for the storied house, created by the iconic 93-year-old Italian designer Federico Forquet.

Federico Forquet
FuturLiberty designer Federico Forquet

Through his long and wonderful life, Italian designer Federico Forquet has been by turns a couturier who learned his craft with Cristobal Balenciaga, and whose creations for his own fashion house clothed the best-dressed women of the day from Sophia Loren to Jane Fonda.

When he later turned his attention to interior decoration, collecting and horticulture, this too proved effortlessly successful - Forquet just has that thing. In the years since, his work became known, and globally admired, for its singular taste and exquisite style.

FuturLiberty designer Federico Forquet
FuturLiberty designer Federico Forquet with the Liberty London design team

That Liberty London has partnered with Forquet on a fabric collection, FuturLiberty, is something of a cultural coup for the business as they approach their 150th anniversary.

The collaboration was the idea of Liberty's CEO Andrea Petochi, a fellow Italian whose family and Forquet's have historical connections. It was Forquet who reminded Petochi of his life-long love of Liberty London's fabric collections, which he remembered seeing on well-dressed children in his own youth.

Silk Gala Maxi Dress
FuturLiberty Silk Gala Maxi Dress £450

“I suddenly realised that this was the master that Liberty needed,” Petochi recently told the Financial Times, as he recalled the seed of that discussion unexpectedly flowered into a new significant new collection of fabrics that shifts the perception of what Liberty represents on its axis. 

The result is a bold, colourful range of more than 100 fashion and interior textiles, a beautiful coffee-table book, and two concurrent exhibitions taking place in Milan, at Museo del Novecento, and Palazzo Morando  – both curated by the art historian Ester Coen. 

Parade print
Parade print, FuturLiberty Fashion Collection prices from £65

To build FuturLiberty and expand its overall visual language, Forquet zoned into the exuberant textiles of 1960's Liberty design director, Bernard Nevill – who frequently drew inspiration from the vorticists – the English equivalents of the Italian futurists.  “From that point on FuturLiberty became a love story between British and Italian art,” says Forquet.

Zig Zag Spot
Zig Zag Spot print, FutureLiberty Fashion Collection prices from £29.95

The fabrics run the gauntlet between abstract geometrics in bold colours such as the Lines Ballet Tana Lawn, and Parade, alongside the gentler graphic repeats of Futurist Diamond Lawn and stripes of Elements Tana Lawn. 

But it's in the swirly, playful graphic boldness of Future Federico Tana Lawn and Trepak Tana Lawn that this collection holds the DNA of the refreshed identity of this most storied of fabric collections.

Trepak print
Trepak print, FuturLiberty Fashion Collection prices from £29.95

There are plentiful ways to experience this collection. There's the book, of course, and a capsule collection of pretty dresses, shirts, ties, and scarves, and home accessories, The FuturLiberty collection also includes fabric that is sold by the metre for both interiors and clothing.

FuturLiberty, Palazzo Morando Exhibition
FuturLiberty, Palazzo Morando Exhibition. (Image courtesy of Lorenzo Palmieri and Electa)

Building the collection was decidedly old-school in its methods. Forquet doesn't own a phone, or have an email address, preferring in-person meetings only. Liberty design director Mary-Ann Dunkley and her design team decamped in the Spring of 2021 when they traveled to Forquet's stunning Tuscan farmhouse to begin working on the collection.

Dunkley says, “We could never have imagined the creative doors Federico would open. How fantastic that it took a nonagenarian to truly disrupt Liberty.” 

FuturLiberty interiors collection
FuturLiberty interiors collection (Image credit Christopher Horwood)

If you're in Milan this summer, in between your visit to the Sistine Chapel and shopping on Via Montenapoleone, make sure to head to the Museo del Novecento museum and Palazzo Morando, and learn more about the marriage of Liberty and Forquet.