British Style Genius / Home Page

British Style Genius
British Style Genius
High Street :: the icons

Video

Video clip

Twiggy on the BIBA store

Recollections of how BIBA was the visionary teenage store

Video clip

BIBA's rise in popularity

Founder Barbara Hulanicki on just how big BIBA became

Video clip

Twiggy on Barbara Hulanicki

Twiggy reveals how BIBA transformed a generation of style

Video clip

Twiggy's first dress

Twiggy reminices about her first BIBA dress

Video clip

Barbara Hulanicki on BIBA prints

Barbara and Twiggy muse over some original collections

BIBA: "A Strange Disneyland"

Popular 60s boutique BIBA was a place where freedom and creativity reigned supreme. The music was played at maximum volume in a shop that was dressed like a film set, combining Art Deco, Nouveau, Victoriana and the golden age glamour of Hollywood – a fusion reflected in the label’s designs. Imagination ran free in this fashion wonderland, which was described at the time as "a strange Disneyland", and a "dream made real."

BIBA combined cutting edge couture with a price tag that people could afford. For the same price as a Mary Quant Bazaar party dress, one could walk out of BIBA with a new dress, shoes, coat, hat and handbag. Hordes of young women snapped up Barbara Hulanicki’s designs and turned her store into one of the biggest names on the high street. A uniquely designed range of ever-changing fashion lines from make-up to feather boas and dresses adorned the lavishly decorated shop. BIBA only ever made two to three hundred of any garment in order to keep their collection fresh and keep their eager customers coming back for more.

Key moments

  • Founded in 1964 by ex fashion illustrator Barbara Hulanicki
  • Open Abingdon Road boutique in West London
  • Success forced the shop to move every two years to meet demand
  • By early 1970s it had become the first new department store to open in London since World War II
  • 1974 legions of fashionistas flocked to the six storey High Street Kensington store
  • Became the second biggest tourist attraction after the Tower of London
  • 1975 store closed down
  • 21st Century re-launch of the British heritage label
Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.