Perusing House of Fraser a few days ago, I was drawn to the new Biba range of interiors. It features many different items, including soft furnishings, dinnerware, home scents and furniture, and definitely stood out in the home department.

 

The Biba Story

Biba began as a fashion brand for teenagers and was founded in London in the early 60s by Barbara Hulanicki. It started life as a mail order catalogue, and grew to become a thriving fashion outlet. By 1974, Biba had grown into its own department store and was kitted out in lavish Art Deco style. (In the 70s, Art Deco made a huge resurgence. They do say that a style goes full circle every fifty years). US Vogue editor Anna Wintour started her career as a Biba shopgirl.

Biba interior, picture from beyondretro.com

Biba interior, picture from beyondretro.com

One of the original Biba logos

One of the original Biba logos


 

Despite its popularity, due to overexpansion Biba ran into financial difficulty and dissolved in 1975. Since its demise there have been several attempts at relaunching Biba (without Hulanicki), but without success.

Biba rose again in 2010 and is now sold exclusively at House of Fraser, a company that has managed to bring it back to life. However, Barbara Hulanicki was said to be upset by this, stating that the ranges (both clothing and homeware) were too expensive and therefore not in keeping with the original brand. Some of the items in the homeware range are indeed pricey (over £600 for the dressing table), but Frasers do pretty decent sales if you are as drawn to the range as I was.

 

Biba Fashion Today

I have picked out some items from the fashion range that epitomise the 1970s interpretation of Art Deco.

 

Make-up

Biba also had a successful line of make-up, which was 1920s inspired and unlike anything on sale at the time. You could almost call it avant-garde.

Biba make-up cpunter, picture from beyondretro.com

Biba make-up counter, picture from beyondretro.com

Watch make-up artist Lisa Eldridge create the Biba look using original products.
 

 

The full Biba range is available here.

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