Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Barbara Hulanicki and The Biba Girls

I feel a fashion-metamorphosis coming over me lately. Does that happen to you from time-to-time? It seems that roughly every two years, I start getting bored and restless with my personal aesthetic [and with my closet, to be frank]. I find myself wanting to shed my skin like a chameleon and find a new persona to inhabit. Don't get me wrong, it isn't drastic [except to me] but it is very rejuvenating! For the past few years, I have been going through a very casual/minimal/80's phase of dressing. I've enjoyed the ease and comfort of this style, but recently I have found myself yearning for some romance, some bohemian frivolity, some eccentricity in my wardrobe.


News of the upcoming Biba documentary could not have come at a more opportune moment! If you haven't seen the preview yet, you really must check it out. It will make you want to take a time-machine back to the 60's, and visit the original Biba store in London -- land of the Biba Girls, with their soft curls, big floppy hats, granny dresses, and 30's-inspired fashion...


Everyone from Twiggy to the gorgeous girlfriends of rock stars shopped at Biba. The look was decadent and dark, but with a playful edge -- deep, rich colors intermingled with chunky platforms, long lashes, and bright makeup. The Biba look consisted of what Hulanicki called "Auntie Colours" - Hulanicki described them as ‘look[ing] like a funeral.’ These colours were blackish mulberries, blueberries, rusts and plums.



Hulanicki herself was a marketing genius, far ahead of her time in her conception of the shopping experience: the store was marketed to a younger generation of women, and unlike the other stuffy, formal department stores in London, Biba encouraged women to experiment in the shop with makeup and to try on and play with clothing combinations.




The Biba logo also played a crucial part in Biba’s success; the logo was gold and black which reflected the growing taste in youth for art deco. The logo was designed by Antony Little. To create a look for Biba in the first store, Little painted the Biba sign above the shop and blacked out all the windows. The blacked out windows didn’t allow the store’s interior to receive any sunlight which was vital for the Biba’s art nouveau atmosphere [wikipedia].


I'm officially smitten with the Biba look, and look forward to incorporating more of the rock-n-roll romantic vibe into my wardrobe. Aren't the Biba girls just too gorgeous for words???





If you love vintage Biba as much as me, you should also check out Hulanicki's website, chock full of old photos and ads for the store in its heyday [as well as some of Hulanicki's new looks!]

7 comments:

autumn's darkroom said...

I totally and completely do the same thing. I also do it with my furniture, and I go around and I paint something: a wall, a chest of drawers, a table. Beautiful pics.

Tom Tuttle from Tacoma said...

THANK YOU for this post! i see the word "auntie" and i sit up. i love the Biba look, the Biba girls, everything Biba!

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-fabulous post my dear!!

Poke Salad Annie said...

i'm a serial metamorph too :) i'd never heard of Biba ('course my fashion knowledge is fairly minimal), and i absolutely love it! excellent post!

Maggie said...

Oh, how I love your blog. I can't wait to see what you post about next!

Aurélie Muller said...

oh I miss your comments.. lovely post, as usual !

ambika said...

I think I've definitely settled into my style much more these past few years but I can definitely see huge shifts--particularly driven by work and environment.

Love these images.