Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Wedding dress - Farewell, Sweet Liberty
  • Farewell, Sweet Liberty
    Casely-Hayford, Joe, born 1956
  • Enlarge image

Farewell, Sweet Liberty

  • Object:

    Wedding dress

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1992 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Casely-Hayford, Joe, born 1956 (designer)
    Liberty & Co. Ltd. (retailer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raw silk, decorated with pearls, metal rivets, chains and studs

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Liberty & Co. Ltd

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Born in Ghana in 1956, Joe Casely-Hayford's family immigrated to London when he was a child. In the early 1970s he worked as a tailor's apprentice on Savile Row and studied fine tailoring at the Tailor & Cutter Academy. From the late 1970s he designed for the music industry, making performance clothes for rock groups. In 1984 Joe Casely-Hayford launched his menswear label, with womenswear following in 1986. His signature look combines sharp tailoring and a high level of technical skill with features drawn from streetstyle and club culture. In 1992, he was commissioned by the Liberty department store to design a dress for their exhibition of contemporary British wedding fashion.

Alternative dress is deliberately anti-fashion, and bridal wear does not necessarily follow day-to-day fashion trends. The designer explores this unexpected relationship by combining alternative design elements with traditional white-wedding style. During the wedding ceremony, the bride stands with her back to her guests. Wedding dresses often feature attractive back detailing for this reason. Joe Casely-Hayford has decorated the back of his white silk dress with a metal-studded pierced heart motif, more suited to a biker’s leather jacket. The slogan, “Farewell Sweet Liberty”, is simultaneously humorous and poignant. Whilst the fabric is traditional, the frayed edges, studs, and chains were inspired by Punk and alternative clothing.

Physical description

Wedding dress of ivory raw silk, embroidered and decorated with pearls, metal rivets, chains and studs.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1992 (made)


Casely-Hayford, Joe, born 1956 (designer)
Liberty & Co. Ltd. (retailer)

Materials and Techniques

Raw silk, decorated with pearls, metal rivets, chains and studs

Marks and inscriptions

'Farewell, sweet liberty'
Embroidered on the back of the dress

Object history note

Registered File number 1993/1217.

Descriptive line

Wedding dress, ivory raw silk with pearl embroidery, metal studs and frayed edges, designed by Joe Casely-Hayford, England, 1992.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

De la Haye, Amy (ed.). The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947- 1997. London: V&A Publications, 1997, Plate 57.

Labels and date

Liberty commissioned Joe Casely- Hayford to create a garment for their display of wedding dresses by British designers in 1992. He designed this post-punk wedding dress featuring a poignant play on words on the back. The luxurious cream silk with pearl decoration is a traditional material for a wedding dress, but the fraying and patchworking of the fabric, and further embellishing it with metal chains and rivets, makes it entirely unconventional. [1993]


Silk (textile); Pearl; Metal


Embroidered; Sewing


Fashion; Clothing; Marriage; Black History


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.