Monday, 27 April 2009

A Little Secret

Mary Quant, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell and John Stephen, all major names from the fashion scene in the swinging sixties. These designers and artists single handily moulded the face of fashion today. Quant inventing the mini skirt that inspires the body con designs we see today. Clark's floaty, chiffon creations and Birtwell's bold flower prints, still live on through many forms of design. John Stephen's trademark floral shirts and velvet double breasted jackets are seen all over the high street in different guises of imitation.

However there was another name, another influential mover and shaker, that too changed the face of the sixties, and of fashion today. Her name may not be as well known as Mary Quant's, however she was just as instrumental to the fashion world. Her name is Barbara Hulanicki. Barbara Hulanicki was a former fashion illustrator (now interior designer), whom founded Biba in 1964. 

Starting life as a small boutique in west London, by the early 70’s Hulanicki had transformed Biba into a seven-story luxurious department store in London’s trendy Carnaby Street. However, it wasn’t just a run of the mill department store, it was a shopping experience, one not to be missed. Music blurred from the windows, art hung on the walls, it was decked out with leopard skin sofas, zebra carpets and other decadent furnishings. Bands would play in the Rainbow rooms on the top floor and celebrities of the day would sip tea on the roof garden whilst marvelling at the mesmerising exotic birds. The decadent allure of Biba attracted the glitter-razzi in there swarms. Stars such as Jack Nicolson, Twiggy, Bowie, Bardot, Mick and Bianca Jagger, all made Biba their second home, purchasing stunning one of a kind couture creations. Yet Biba didn’t just appeal to he rich and famous, the accessibility of the brand and the reasonable prices meant anyone from students to film stars could shop there. 

However, all good things must come to and end and in 1975 Biba was sadly no more. The story was over, the lights were dimmed and the doors were closed, for good. The Biba brand may be gone, but it lives on through so many retail stores of today, Harrods, Selfridges and Topshop, naming just a few.

In-fact Topshop has been widely compared to Biba, most people feeling that Topshop is the Biba of its day (without the exotic birds!) So it now seems quiet fitting that Barbara Hulanicki and Topshop are to collaborate! The result of this collaboration is due to hit stores on the 28th of April (tomorrow!!!). So sharpen your elbows, wear flat shoes and prepare to cue and fight for the fantastic ensembles that are on offer!

Barbra Hulanicki and Topshop have created a 30-piece collection inspired by the colour palate in her Miami home. It consists of a mix of boho 70's inspired dresses and shirts, flowing chiffon trousers and scarfs and one of a kind handbags and statement animal print dresses.

My favourite from the collection has to be the Coral Bow shoulder dress, a complete steal at £55. If your legs are your best assets this is the dress for you. This sassy summer dress is scary-short, however, the high neckline, enlarged animal print scattered detail and big puffy shoulders will draw attention away from that.  I would wear this dress with flat brogues or loafers and no socks for the day, and for the evening I’d team it with an over sized blazer and on trend black ankle boots.

I also like the girl print sundress it’s soooooo 70’s I love it! I would team this with a big fringe, flowing long beachy hair, simple flip flops for the day or clash colour heels like the picture states when hitting the town.

The girl print blouse is simply stunning, this flowing chiffon creation gives that instant 70’s boho look without even trying. I’d wear this with high waist flares and possibly team it with a sleeveless denim waistcoat and open toe sandals or denim hot pants and gladiator sandals for the uber skinny mini’s amongst us!

However don't just take my word for it, get your self down to Topshop tomorrow and be apart of fashion history. 

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