26 August 2010

Biba is back! With Daisy Lowe on board

The legendary fashion success story of the Sixties and Seventies – Biba, is being re-launched once again, and this time it's by high street department store, House of Fraser.

Founded by designer Barbara Hulanicki in the 1964, the range of red hot on-trend patterned garms in muted ‘Auntie colours’ like browns, oranges and purples were hugely desirable to every young person of the era – AND crucially, they were affordable.

As the brand grew more successful, the shop expanded into larger and larger premises, until in its heyday in 1974, when legions of fashionistas – up to a million a week, flocked to the six storey High Street Kensington store. Shoppers recall huge queues round the block to even enter the building! At this time it was reported that Biba was second biggest tourist attraction after the Tower of London. However, due to financial problems and bad business decisions, in 1975 the store closed down.

WATCH Twiggy and Barbara chat, on this BBC video!

BIBA only ever made two to three hundred of any garment in order to keep their collection fresh and keep their loyal customers coming back for more. Nowadays, authentic Biba pieces still do an absolute roaring trade for vintage dealers and are highly collectible.

This is the second attempt at a re-launch of the iconic label in the last few years. House of Fraser have employed the services of one Miss Daisy Lowe to be the face of the brand, and very sultry she looks too, in her smoky eyeliner and leopardskin coatdress. And understandably, for a vintage fashion junkie, Daisy is thrilled with her latest casting; 'it was a huge honour to be asked. I've been a fan of the brand since I was very young,' adding 'when I started my modelling career, and when I first started to understand clothes, Biba was one of the first names that cropped up. I've always really loved Biba so when I was asked to be part of the campaign I was just ecstatic.'

Can we say that we’re reserving judgement until we see the collection? Barbara is still very much involved with the fashion industry, (why we saw her only recently handing out awards at the Graduate Fashion Week showcase, and last year she had a collection in Topshop) - but hasn’t had anything to do with Biba since 1975 and has no power over the trademark she sold 35 years ago. It seems trickier than previously thought to bring back the magic of the era a second time around. . . . so watch this space.

-Naomi Attwood


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