Biba exhibition Brighton Museum


Today I went to see the Biba exhibition at the Brighton Museum, with my old school friend Lynne. It was wonderful and amazing. We absolute loved it and I felt so inspired to write this blog with lots of photos, not only of the exhibits we saw but also similar items and outfits that I have worn and are in my wardrobe- fascinating how fashion revolves!

Barbara Hulanicki always had a keen sense of style and fashion and wanted to do everything differently (I want to do things differently too!), she won her first design competition at 18 with this Italian influenced swimsuit design (to keep us a little warmer in Britain!)

This was made by Norman Hartwell.



Barbara started the first postal clothes service (how forward thinking –it’s our online now) and initially had moderate sales.

Then she was featured in the Daily Mirror and was commissioned to design a garment to accompany the article so she designed a Brigitte Bardot inspired pink gingham dress with matching head scarf (back in fashion now). 17,000 orders were received and Biba was an overnight success.



Influenced by Audrey Hepburn she played with scale to create styles and patterns that hadn’t been seen before – and also mixed styles and designs from difference periods to create new silhouettes – she liked to shock – she made her son black nappies and ‘proper clothes’ in natures colours (autumnal) not traditional babies pink and blue.

We saw a patterned jumpsuit with matching hat – I got my 2012 version from Ailsa to wear to an awards dinner.


The Trouser suit- so on trend now along with cycling (maybe the bike has larger wheels now!)


Make up loaned by Lisa Eldridge


A top celebrity makeup artist and collector of vintage make up.

(Whom my daughter works for) was there but unfortunately the video of a Biba makeup look was broken so we didn’t see that but I have found it on her website – click on her name above.


Barbara Hulanicki has designed for George at Asda, and these spectacular wellies were for sale in 2011,


Can you spot the subtle skull design, along with the skull wallpaper in the background – just wished I had got some.

Alexandra McQueen was the first designer to make skulls a fashion feature with his scarves – a legend in his lifetime so sad he is no longer here.

We saw this fabulous lace dress – the lace is woven in the iconic Biba Celtic knot design, designed by John McConnell in 1966.




Incredibly like this tunic dress I got a few years ago from Top shop

This patterned top is also very similar in style and cut, to a layering top I just got from Captain Tortue – Simply fascinating




And then a coat jacket!


It’s all about the dressing up, the fantasy the ‘how clothes make you feel’ which I love and want to share with everyone.



These wide legged culottes and fitted top immediately reminded me of my light grey palazzo pants I got from Top Shop and a fitted black t shirt that I wore with a belt – perhaps a more 2013 version of a 1960′s look.

This photo is almost exactly the same (in style lines and contrast colours)

Barbara wanted to give people basics that’s they could then interpret in their own way. She used to watch people come in the shop and see how differently each one had worn the same item with a new slant.

Snake skin, then as a suitcase (I so wanted to grab it!!) now as a clutch bag



Loved this dress and colours all autumnal so divinely put together muddy green, navy and burnt orange


A woman streets ahead of everyone. She says today fashion is boring it’s all the same stuff done over and over. I tend to agree, as most high street shops all sell the ‘same versions’ of everything; but if you take a basic piece then add your own unique way of wearing we can all still express out individuality and fashion personality.

A final quote from the exhibition

“Barbara continues to make us feel young in her designs but also have the confidence to be an individual , as she did all those years ago.”

I would like you to help you too, as I know the power of clothes can transform how you feel about yourself and your life…….

What a blissful completely relaxing and out of this world way to spend a Sunday afternoon.