Department store Liberty are celebrating Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs with specially-commissioned window displays in their landmark Soho store. Liberty’s Managing Director Ed Burstell explains how it came about.
As a transplanted New Yorker working for the hallowed British institution that is Liberty, I jumped at the chance for my team and I to collaborate with Tate Modern – London’s world famous, iconic, cultural institution. Tate Modern is the first in the world to host this groundbreaking exhibition of Matisse cut-outs, shining a light on the artist’s creative resurgence towards the end of his life, when he refused to let ill health stop him. His cut outs demonstrate his genius through the use of scale and colour in a joyous primal explosion…. simple, but sophisticated. Our current window scheme is inspired by the work of Henri Matisse, depicted in this current exhibit as well as the general spirit and aesthetic of his work. Liberty approached paper artists and stylists, Studio Boo, about working on a concept that reflects Matisse’s cut-outs, using their signature style of layering and texture building with paper. Paper, being significant to Matisse as well as having a current surge in popularity as a medium. Studio Boo then designed a concept based on Matisse works about the sea. Using similar expressive shapes to suggest the organic matter of the ocean they created windows that have movement and 3D elements, bringing to life the colours and shapes and combining with select products from around our store. As colour and form were both key mediums of expression for Matisse, the Liberty Visual Merchandising team carefully selected items from all departments of the store to complement and animate these windows. All the patterned paper shapes are taken from the seasonal Liberty Art Fabrics collections, with the final window showcasing the new Liberty London Iphis accessories collection.