For spring, Ralph has taken that English classic we love to see hanging around beds, crewelwork (see an old example at Montacute House, here), and re-imagined it as a slouchy bag. Of course, wool embroidery on cotton/linen was used for bags centuries ago -- check out this 18th-century work bag in the V & A's collection -- but Ralph's 2012 interpretation caught my eye because he balanced the feminine floral with a rugged leather strap. Also, I noticed his palette of fresh greens and blues.
[Liberty & Co. Furnishing fabric, printed cotton, 1906-9 from V & A Pattern: Liberty.]
The cool colors reminded me of a printed cotton I spied the other day in V & A Pattern: Liberty.
The V & A points out that England's first major craze for crewelwork hangings occurred during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, with textile designs largely based on imported Indian embroideries. Fast-forward to the Downton Abbey era (sorry, I couldn't resist another reference), and the look returns; some families own, or acquire, original bed curtains while others buy newly available printed linens inspired by the antiques.
Click here to see a chintz-bedecked 18th-century four-poster, and here for more on Liberty archivist Anna Buruma's upcoming book.