Last night I was teaching 2 clients on the basics of web design and photoshop. They casually mentioned Biba and Barbara Hulanicki. Honestly I did not even know the name Biba! How did I miss this one? Unbelievable...

Barbara Hulanicki

This morning early I began researching this fantastic entrepreneurial powerhouse fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki. What a story! Barbara came from a humble roots and built an empire with her passion for fashion. What I really love about Barbara is she seemed almost psychic with her choices and didn't keep up with trends, she invented them! Barbara should be a household name like Mary Quant.

The First Biba Location

Barbara Hulanicki opened the legendary Biba boutique in London in 1964. Biba stocked the "total look" in which shoes, tights, and other accessories coordinated with the clothes. Biba clothing was extremely inexpensive, which made her a big hit with young women.

Barbara Hulanicki was exasperated by the disastrous street fashion in England, her husband Fitz encouraged her to design her own clothing. Biba was born and eventually expanded into a five story art deco building, filled with rock stars and the celebrities of the 60's.

Biba Empire

Biba was a lifestyle, a total look, which housed everything from clothes and make up and much more. Her third location was a large Department Store on Kensington High St. Big Biba, became the ultimate hang out for artists, musicians and the mod scene, the Rolling Stones,David and Angela Bowie, Marianne Faithfull, Julie Christie and Twiggy were just a few celebrity devotees.

Suzi Quatro filmed a video featuring Biba. Check it out!

In the nineties Barbara arrived in Miami Beach where she designed interiors for Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and Chris Blackwell’s Boutique Hotel Group. She is credited with the resurrection of Miami Beach’s crumbling Art Deco district.

Today she has delved back into the fashion world, designing for Coccinelle, Habitat, Graham and Brown and a clothing range for a top British Retailer.

Barbara designed for Barbie (of course)! In the fab styles of the 1960's and she along with many famed designers such as Emilio Pucci, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior,and Yves St Laurent created the fantastic look for the original Barbies. Ruth Handler and Mattel had the marvelous idea to get hip fashion designers to dress my favorite doll. Read More on the Topic Her earlier designs reflected the youthful styles of the Mod movement, but by the late Sixties, her designs changed to the nostalgic 1930s look, with midi and maxi hemlines.

From A to Biba

Barbara Hulanicki tells the story of the rise and fall of Biba the tiny, fashion boutique that grew into a vast iconic brand that epitomized Swinging London in the 60's and beyond. The Biba store was to became the home of hip 60s and 70s London. But in the early 1970s Hulanicki and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon lost control after a series of bitter boardroom struggles and for Barbara, Biba was lost. This lively autobiography evokes the adventurous spirit of the 1960s and describes Barbara's amazing life and career.

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Miss Lexy said...

Iconic and fabulous!!! YUM, YUM, gimme some of that 60's London style...GO BIBA!!! GO KIMMER!!

Fast Film said...

Biba and the now obscure 1970 or 71 film "The Boyfriend" starring Twiggy and Tommy Tune tap-dancing their way through a faux 1930s musical both heralded the Art Deco look. I remember when this sea change away from Hippie fashion and the stupid mini vs. maxi skirt partisan wars actually occurred. Even local newspapers featured fashion spreads of the proto-glam looks from Biba and England citing the essentials:
-dark red lips instead of Hippie or Mary Quant/Yardley light or white liops
-filmy, smock-cut tops with amusing, 30s-based designs like tiny airplanes as patterns
-trousers that in the 30s were called pajamas but we now know as wide flares
-fedora or extremely wide-brimmed hats
-no more long straight hair- perms and frizz for all!

Retro Kimmer said...

Wonderful info HH I was waiting for your input!

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