Date Established:
Date Trading Ceased:

The fashion label Biba started as a small boutique in South Kensington, and gradually expanded to become an entire department store.

Fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki, with her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, founded Biba by selling her designs via mail order. They opened their first shop in Abingdon Road, Kensington in 1964. Its popularity increased, and the boutique moved to larger premises in Kensington High Street in 1969, and again in 1971.

Hulanicki drew much of her inspiration from retro styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Victoriana and the glamour of Hollywood. This nostalgic look was a bold contrast to the existing crisp, modern designs of the time. Biba outfits, with their narrow upper arms and slim-fitting designs, suited slender frames.

In 1973, with the financial support of Dorothy Perkins and the Fraser group, Biba moved into the empty Derry & Toms department store also on Kensington High Street. The Biba flagship store sold everything from specially packaged baked beans to satin sheets. Biba had become a lifestyle choice, and shoppers could not only purchase a fully co-coordinated outfit, but also cosmetics, soft furnishings, household products such as washing powder, and food. All goods were presented in the distinctive black and gold Biba packaging.

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