This evening coat is a wonderful example of the work produced by Liberty's costume department, which opened in 1884 under the direction of the architect and designer E. W. Godwin. The department became known for its brand of 'Aesthetic' dress, inspired by costumes of the past, and made in beautiful silks, some made in India, dyed in vibrant but natural colours.
The remarkable 'rainbow' lining is a type of fabric known as a strié or dip-dyed silk. A similarly-constructed coat appears in a Liberty catalogue of 1907 priced at 7 guineas. A seamstress at the time would struggle to earn 2 guineas a week, a comparison which indicates the wealthy, upper middle-class character of the typical Liberty customer.