British fashion icon Barbara Hulanicki was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. All of us here at Royal Pavilion & Museums who are currently working on the exhibition Biba and Beyond would like to send her our warmest congratulations.
While researching Barbara’s long and varied career we have been continually amazed by her innovative, unique and distinctive creative flair. The exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery will review her life from her childhood, early career in fashion illustration, and her creation of Biba in the 1960s; to her key role in the regeneration of Miami beach and her recent High Street fashion and interiors collections.
Barbara’s OBE was awarded for services to fashion and acknowledges her huge impact on the face of fashion retail in the UK. Biba was the first store to bring affordable fashion for young women and girls to the High Street. She revolutionized the shopping experience creating dark atmospheric interiors in which shop girls and celebrities eagerly sought her striking, romantic and sensual designs – which were cut and styled to suit the young, priced to be accessible to all and sold by beautiful young girls with inspirational looks and style. She introduced communal changing rooms and created the first young lifestyle brand.
We have also become very aware of the impact that Barbara has had on the lives and dreams of the girls and women who bought her clothes. For the exhibition we are collecting the memories and stories of people whose lives have been touched by their experiences in clothes designed by Barbara Hulanicki. From glamorous outfits for memorable nights out, 21st birthday parties and weddings; to macs that were worn everyday, sparkly wellies, feather boas and mini skirts; the clothes were loved and cherished. Whatever the occasion or the outfit a young women wearing Biba felt cool, stylish and sexy. Many of the clothes were worn and shared until they finally fell apart, others were carefully packed away to be passed on to daughters or granddaughters.
Barbara Hulanicki’s fashions hold a special place in the hearts of many women. We are very excited to be working together with her during the next few months and we send many congratulations to Barbara Hulanicki OBE.
The Exhibitions Team, Royal Pavilion & Museums
Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki will be on show at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery 22 September 2012 – 14 April 2013