Iconic clothes store Biba was founded by Polish born fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki OBE (b. 1936). She opened her Biba shop in the Kensington district of London in 1864 with the help of her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon.
The shop soon became known for its stylishly decadent atmosphere and lavish decor inspired by Art Nouveau and Art Deco. It became a hangout for artists, film stars and rock musicians, including Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull.
In the shop, a young clientele bought affordable mini-skirts, floppy felt hats, feather boas, velvet trouser suits and unisex T-shirts dyed in rich, muted colors. Incidentally, Anna Wintour started in fashion as a Biba employee.
After the shop’s 1975 demise, Hulanicki continued to work in the fashion industry, designing for labels such as Fiorucci and Cacharel and, from 1980 to 1992, designed a line of children’s wear, Minirock, licensed to the Japanese market.
The London Biba store via
Queue for the Biba store via
Inside the Biba store via
The food department was sectioned into separate units that each contained one type of item. There was a section modelled after Hulanicki’s great dane Othello in which you’d find only dog food via
Shopping at Biba, 1960s via
Some Biba sales-girls via
Barbara Hulanicki, designer and founder of Biba, in her first boutique in Abingdon Road, Kensington, London, mid 1960s. (Photo by Charles Edridge/Getty Images) via