THE OLD BIBA
I love the whole story of Biba. I think for a couple to start off with a mail order company and end up with a huge department store, which completely grabbed the public imagination is incredible. I love the whole Biba look, and that that one undiluted style prevailed throughout the store. This was a truly glamorous shop, neo-30s with a 60s twist and complete with bowls of feathers, an art deco staircase and leopard skin print everywhere. Biba wasn't just a shop but a way of life and people would come and spend their whole Saturdays there. I can hardly believe it was down the road from where I live now.
Even the food department was exciting and new - baked beans with the distinctive black and gold Biba packaging and a funny way to display dog food!
The Italianate roof gardens at the top of the store had flamingos and pelicans. This photo shows founder Barbara Hulanicki too.
The images they produced were glamorous and retro, and Biba clothes were must have items. My Mum's cousin spent a month's wages to get a pair of the much desired boots, only to leave them on the tube on her way home.
The illustrations were also interesting and stylish, and are always inspiring to me. You can see these in the books Biba by Delisia Howard, and Sinbiba by Hulanicki and Howard.
All the images on this blog came from these books and Welcome to Big Biba by Steven Thomas and Alwyn W Turner (my favourite) and the Biba Experience by Alwyn W. Turner.
The Rainbow Rooms in Biba also had lots of bands perform there not least David Bowie, and the ever stylish Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music who shot their Let's stick together video there. Jerry Hall is also approproately Biba - stunning and clad in leopard.