Big Biba: surfing the 60’s UK zeitgeist

So much here to love – history, fashion, design, lifestyle. Big Biba had it all going on, and was into branding way before it became a “thing”

Many thanks to my fabulous costume designer friend Kevin Ritter, for sending me this groovy post.

By Inge Oosterhoff

MessyNessy Chic

I’m excerpting a bit here, please go to MessyNessy and read the whole piece, it is worth your time. Really.

 

Twiggy
Twiggy

you thought that Harvey Nichols or Topshop were the epitome of a London fashion department store, it’s time to re-introduce you to Big Biba, a fallen icon of the Swinging Sixties that redefined the High Street shopping experience…

Original Biba
Original Biba

It all started in 1964, when a small-time mail order business called Biba’s Postal Boutique advertised a pink gingham dress in the Daily Mirror that was similar to one worn by Brigitte Bardot. Over 4,000 orders were in the next day and went up to 17,000 in total….

 

Starting with the children's floor, there was a storybook village with a castle, a saloon, a carousel and a thatched house kid's cafe with toadstool picnic tables.
Starting with the children’s floor, there was a storybook village with a castle, a saloon, a carousel and a thatched house kid’s cafe with toadstool picnic tables.

Makes US themed stores, restaurants, etc. look like child’s play. We really need to step up our game, this was done nearly 50 years ago!

Nightwear and lingerie were sold on a boudoir platform complete with a bed, nightstand and wardrobe. The communal changing rooms were Egyptian themed and held marvellous Amun-Ra mirrors.
Nightwear and lingerie were sold on a boudoir platform complete with a bed, nightstand and wardrobe. The communal changing rooms were Egyptian themed and held marvellous Amun-Ra mirrors.

Sure, they catered to children a little, it was a department store, after all. But, they REALLY took care of the big kids! The photo above is just one of the adult places – so many more on the site.

Happy exploring (I’ll say it again – go see the rest of this) fellow lovers of 60’s London.

 

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