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Thursday
May232013

BIBA rules summer

 

Image Copyright Rebecca Tomlinson 

Text Copied from http://designmuseum.org/design/biba

In the 1960s illustrator BARBARA HULANICKI (1936-) and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon established the small mail order company Biba to respond to the demand from Britain’s youth for affordable, age-appropriate clothing. Her art nouveau-inspired designs define Britain’s transition from the 60s to the 70s.

Biba was an instant success: after opening its first store in Kensington in 1966 the company quickly expanded through three more stores in the next 10 years. This expansion culminated in the seven-storey Derry & Toms department store, known as Big Biba, Britain’s first Superstore boutique, attracting up to a million visitors a week, and second only in popularity to the Tower of London as a tourist attraction.

Biba’s downfall was almost as quick as its inception. In 1969 Biba Ltd. was formed and Dorothy Perkins became a major stakeholder. Four years later British Land acquired Dorothy Perkins, but the property crash of 1974 forced them to close the store and to sell the rights to the Biba name. Hulanicki moved to Miami where she now lives and works as a successful interior designer.

In 2006 Micheal Pearce re-launched Biba (now BIBA), with Bella Freud as the company’s creative director. This contemporary incarnation of Biba draws influence from Hulanicki’s original designs, this time aiming them at an more expensive market. In 2007 Manny Mashouf, chairman and founder of the fashion retailer Bebe, bought out 60% of BIBA and Pearce became CEO, taking control of the brand’s creative growth.

more info at http://vintagefashionguild.org/label-resource/biba/

 

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