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BIBA BARBARA HULANICKI

Biba was an iconic London boutique, open from 1964 to 1975. It was the brainchild of designer Barbara Hulanicki and run by she and her husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon.

Biba-Barbara Hulanicki

Designer Barbara Hulanicki across the first boutique opened in Kensington in 1964. She launched the first mail-order youth fashion catalogue in Britain in 1963, enabling girls everywhere to buy clothes that until then could be found only in London. Barbara open a boutique in an abandoned chemist’s shop on Abingdon Road in Kensington. “I was really into lovely old premises that hadn’t been tampered with. And this one was absolutely beautiful with all of these arch windows and original peeling paint outside.”

top model twiggy with big biba hat

yop 60s model twiggy wearig BARBARA HULANICKI biba design

The boutique became a staple in the swinging London scene, but never became psychedelic. Instead, second store opened in 1969 with an art nouveau theme. To model and style icon, Twiggy, became a big Biba patron around this time, her look fitted the brand perfectly. Mick Jagger came to ogle the panda-eyed girls, the décor was dark, decadent and delicious, the goings-on were legendary and the clothes so hip it hurt. She came up with the smoky kohl and neon lipstick Biba make-up range that defined the era.

twiggy on an art deco chair fot biba boutique

Biba boutique models

model wearing huge sun glasses at biba boutique

Top photographer Helmut Newton and models such as Stephanie Farrow (younger sister of Mia) worked for nothing and you never knew who might drop by, from Brigitte Bardot to Princess Anne, all attracted by the sheer glamour of the clothes.

biba outfit designed by Barbara Hulanicki wore by model

top model Sarah Moon Biba catalogue 1969

Barbara Hulanicki biba's grand designer

Biba’s designer Barbara Hulanicki.

biba models fashion shooting playing chess   biba fashion brand mail catalogue

fashion models wearing biba outfits posing with a merdecedes benz car

biba boutique street door

In 1974, Hulanicki and Fitz moved the shop into a rundown, department store in High Street Kensington, opening a five-story fashion emporium, Big Biba, selling everything from furniture to baked beans and dog food. Its first floor was pure Biba: a lavish, Edwardian bazaar with silks, fake furs, and feather boas draped on hatstands and plush sofas at the center of public changing rooms. David Bowie, Ronnie Wood, and Marianne Faithfull were regulars at the Rainbow Room, a restaurant on the fifth floor.

Biba Shoes Corner

Bath display in Art Deco-style Big Biba store, 1970s

big biba fashion store interior 1970s

fashion model wearing biba brand designed by Barbara Hulanicki    

fashion models wearing biba brand designed by Barbara Hulanicki

fashion model wearing biba brand designed by Barbara Hulanicki

biba london 60s brand catalogue

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