Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Legendary Ladies Continue: Barbara Hulanicki

I have become slightly obsessed with Biba, the iconic and incredible fashion line and Kensington store in the 60s and 70s. Created almost on accident by illustrator Barbara Hulanicki - everything from the slim fitting shifts to the staff of young doll-like gals to the larger than life eventual shop - was brilliant. The clothing was all about retro styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victoriana and the glamour of Hollywood. I don't think I can even compare it to anything nowadays, except the occasional fabulously hippie/mod el cheapo dress that you have to scour for at H&M, but believe you me, the actual store was far greater than H&M's white walls and fluorescent lighting. Biba's department store had out-of-this-world décor, deluxe cosmetic counters, and a boudoir-esque shoe parlor. Shoppers could drink cocktails in the flamingo-filled Roof Garden, or in the Rainbow Room, where live musical performances took place, or dine in the glamorous cafeteria, which was not your average Piccadilly!
Hulanicki totally inspires me in many ways: Her swinging fashion sense; her vision of the most glamorous department store ever; and most impressively, how she took her one dress and built an empire.
Anyway, if you are as intrigued as I am, there's a pretty great article about her in this month's Bust Magazine.
And p.s. - if you end up googling it, you'll find the new and improved Biba, which is totally corporate now and nothing to do with Hulanicki.



Blogger lincoln rembrandt said...

if you like biba you will love
see the story-buy the album-wait for the show!!!!!!!!!

9:20 PM  

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