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Barbara Hulanicki, husband Stephen Fitz-Simon & their son Witold I wont relay the whole BIBA story here, if you don’t already know then you can quite easily find out, but as you will know there is still a huge interest in the brand forty years on! She launched the first mail-order youth fashion catalogue in Britain in 1963, enabling girls everywhere to buy clothes that until then could be found only in London. Barbara Hulanicki, 79 Polish-born Barbara rose to fame with Biba, the fashion label she founded alongside her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon [Fitz] in the 60s. Her husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, was an advertising executive at the time, and could see that illustration was quickly being eclipsed by photography. Barbara Hulanicki, alongside her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon founded the retail phenomenon Biba in 1964. Top photographer Helmut Newton and models such as Stephanie Farrow (younger sister of Mia) worked for nothing and you never knew who might drop by, from Brigitte Bardot to Princess Anne, all attracted by the sheer glamour of the clothes. Warsaw-born fashion icon, illustrator and designer, Barbara Hulanicki and her late husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, opened Biba in London in 1964. In 1980 they decided to move back to London, to give their son a British education. And this one was absolutely beautiful with all of these arch windows and original peeling paint outside.”. Instead, second store opened in 1969 with an art nouveau theme. The iconic designer is best known for founding brand Biba with late husband Stephen Fitz-Simon in 1964 and the shop in Kensington became a well-known hangout for the stars of the ’60s, including Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull. Mick Jagger came to ogle the panda-eyed girls, the décor was dark, decadent and delicious, the goings-on were legendary and the clothes so hip it hurt. After a few false starts and refusing to give up, their last-ditched attempt was to design and manufacture a pink gingham dress with a round hole in the back with a matching head scarf. She has recently been reunited with the brand, now run by House of Fraser and resides in Miami, where she has found a … While it was initially a success, the expansion and investment involved with a 5,000 square feet warehouse in Chiswick, teams of quality controllers, packers and managers, meant for the first time that Biba was no longer a tightly controlled family business. Barbara Hulanicki and Stephen Fitz-Simon, about 1960, photographer unknown. Biba fashion was founded in 1963 by Barbara Hulanicki and Stephen Fitz-Simon; Husband and wife duo soon opened department store in Kensington, London She married advertising executive Stephen Fitz-Simon and they soon opened a mail order clothing company that she named Biba's Postal Boutique. Many people don't realize, but Barbara Hulanicki was practically the founder of the fast fashion movement. Just as Barbara swept great gusts of glamour into life, it was Stephen Fitz-Simon (known by all as Fitz) who turned the dusty business of fashion retailing on its head with his enormous sense of fun and constant air of amused cynicism. While studying from 1954 to 1956 at the Brighton School of Art, now the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts, Hulanicki won a London Evening Standard-newspaper competition in 1955 for beachwear. They did not meet again for two years, by which time he was engaged to someone else. This lively autobiography evokes the adventurous spirit of the 1960s and describes an extraordinary life with clarity and wit. Designer Barbara Hulanicki across the first boutique opened in Kensington in 1964. David Bowie, Ronnie Wood, and Marianne Faithfull were regulars at the Rainbow Room, a restaurant on the fifth floor. Stephen Charles Fitz-Simon, fashion retailer: born Surbiton 5 March 1937; married 1961 Barbara Hulanicki (one son); died Miami 16 January 1997. In 1964 she founded, with her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, the boutique BIBA, beginning as a small mail-order business. In 1968, with sales in the Church Street shop booming, Fitz and Barbara launched the Biba mail-order catalogue. She acts as a consultant to a number fashion and home ware retailers, with her most recent collaboration being with George at Asda. This time it was called Barbara Hulanicki and was an instant success. They stayed just five years, established a cosmetics business, launched a children's clothes line in Japan and even opened another small shop. They made a glamorous couple and appeared so closely bonded it is impossible to talk about one without the other. Hulanicki invented affordable fashion for the baby boomer, for shop girls, for teenagers. Designer Barbara Hulanicki across the first boutique opened in Kensington in 1964. Biba was an iconic London boutique and apparel brand, open from 1964 to 1975. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. Biba archive. The day- to-day disasters that dog any venture were treated as a potential source of good-natured amusement. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. He claimed that after National Service he earned a living throwing darts in London pubs. your own Pins on Pinterest The mail-order market, fickle at the best of times, was phased out after five seasons. 1963: In London Polish-born Barbara Hulanicki and her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, launch Biba’s Postal Boutique, an affordable mail order clothing business directed at teenagers and young adults. Barbara Hulanicki and Stephen Fitz-Simon, a husband-and-wife retail team made in heaven, opened their first shop in 1963 in an old chemist's store in Abingdon Road, Kensington; they painted the walls navy blue and hung long curtains with a plum and navy William Morris print. Fitz relished the cut and thrust of running his retail empire. I'd meet Barbara Hulanicki, Twiggy and Manolo Blahnik, and Ossie Clark would design my wedding dress. Hulanicki worked as a fashion illustrator after studying at Brighton Art College in the late 1950s. 05.1964: Felicity Green, associate editor at the Daily Mirror, asks Hulanicki to create … She launched the first mail-order youth fashion catalogue in Britain in 1963, enabling girls everywhere to buy clothes that until then could be found only in London. In 1969, to finance Biba's move to their first large shop in Kensington High Street, the Fitz-Simons sold 75 per cent of the business to Dorothy Perkins. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. I know - I was one of them. Comment. Among the usual colourful cast of pop stars, artist, actors and fashion photographers at the decade-long party, you would almost certainly notice a kohl-eyed vamp, her feather boa fluttering around a slinky low-cut sequinned jacket. In 1963 Biba's Postal Boutique - the name Biba was borrowed from one of Barbara's sisters - was tentatively launched. In 1974, Hulanicki and Fitz moved the shop into a rundown, department store in High Street Kensington, opening a five-story fashion emporium, Big Biba, selling everything from furniture to baked beans and dog food. Two sets of identical twins, left to right, Michelle Hellier, Susy Young, Nicole Hellier and Rosy Young. 'I have no interest in designing for ladies who lunch,' she says now. By mid-1965 Biba moved to a larger shop on Kensington Church Street. In April 1996 Fitz and Barbara were back in the fashion business, briefly. Barbara Hulanicki: BIBA Barbara Hulanicki was the progressive founder of iconic clothes store BIBA. In fact he went into advertising and had become an account executive at LPE (London Press Exchange) when his raffish good looks caught Barbara's attention across a crowded room at a party. Hulanicki has dressed the likes of Twiggy, Yoko Ono, the Rolling Stones, etc, and designed interiors for Chris Blackwell of … In 1964, she opened her first Biba shop. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London A record 17,000 gingham dresses sold, at 25 shillings (pounds 1.25) each, after it was featured in the Daily Mirror in May 1964, with the Fitz-Simons' profit five bob a dress. In 1972, even before Barbara and Fitz made their final move into Big Biba in the Derry & Toms building in Kensington High Street, they realised control of their empire was slipping from their hands. A warm, friendly man - and generous to a fault - he could be prickly and sharp in business deals, able to slug out any deal to his own satisfaction. Discover (and save!) Fitz's handsome features were recognisable in many Hulanicki fashion sketches from 1959 on. The start of Biba began in 1964 as a mail order postal Boutique, offering a Pink gingham dress with a headscarf to match. But in the early 1970s, Hulanicki and her husband Stephen Fitz-Simon lost control after a series of bitter boardroom struggles and for Barbara, Biba was lost. Their first major success came a year later - a pink and white gingham frock with Bardot-style headscarf to match. He encouraged her to pursue her interest in designing, and in 1963 the couple launched Biba’s Postal Boutique (‘Biba’ was the nickname of Hulanicki… Our problem was they always came true." Fitz, the son of a motor engineer, was born in 1937 and educated at Beaumont College, the Jesuit public school in Surrey (now closed). Hulanicki's husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, was furious when he found out what she'd done. Barbara Hulanicki and Helena Bonham Carter in 2012 New Year Honours list In 1964 she founded, with her late husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon, the boutique BIBA, beginning as a small mail-order business featured in the fashion columns of newspapers such as the DAILY MIRROR. But it attracted 17,000 orders, ultimately enabling her to start the boutique that became a legend. Much of his business was conducted in the local pub, where he took refuge when his tiny office behind the shop was commandeered as a changing room, or when a supplier like Molly Parkin, who was making hats for the shop and became a firm friend, pursued him for payment. When Barbara complained about a particularly overbearing employee Fitz had employed, he said, "I know he's a right bastard, but that's what we need.". After working as a freelance fashion illustrator for magazines including Vogue, Tatler, and Women’s Wear Daily, Hulanicki opened, with her late husband Stephen Fitz-Simon, Biba in 1964. The place is London. She is credited as the designer to first bring affordable and yet directional fashion to the masses. If stock sold out before fresh supplies were delivered, the shop just closed a bit early that day. Nov 13, 2013 - This Pin was discovered by Gemma Curran. I'd get busted for drugs and go on anti-war … She came up with the smoky kohl and neon lipstick Biba make-up range that defined the era. By the time they opened the first Biba shop later that year, in a former chemist's in a Kensington side street, Fitz had given up his advertising job and had become a budding retail tycoon innovating such revolutionary ideas as late-night shopping, low-priced disposable glamour, haughty shop assistants and communal changing rooms. When their son left school to go to college in New York to study film, they sold the cosmetics business and moved to Miami, where Barbara had been commissioned by Ronnie Wood to design his South Beach club, Woody's, and where she has buiilt up a new career as an interior decorator. Biba paved the way for Topshop, Zara, Forever21, Nasty Gal, etc. The success of Fitz-Fitz, their new shop in downtown New York, was short- lived. The boutique became a staple in the swinging London scene, but never became psychedelic. Her father, Witold Hulanicki, was assassinated by the Stern Gang in Jerusalem in 1948, and the family moved to Brighton, England. Although it is her name that became the fashion legend, Barbara and Fitz created Biba together. Barbara Hulanicki and her husband John Fitz Simon set up Biba in 1963 as a mail order boutique. Fitz broke off his engagement and married Barbara in November 1961. Biba was the brain-child of the illustrator and designer Barbara Hulanicki who established a mail-order 'postal boutique' operating from her hometown Brighton and then opened a … A screenplay written with his son Witold, and completed shortly before Fitz died, will go into production later this year. It was the brainchild of designer Barbara Hulanicki and run by she and her husband, Stephen Fitz-Simon. After many successful decades of the business, Barbara has now joined forces with BrandLab Fashion to create her new collection 'Hula'. The Fitz-Simons moved to Brazil with their son, Witold, then eight, and two Great Dane dogs and started all over again with a new shop in Sao Paulo. "We had many wild dreams. She began her career in fashion as a freelance fashion illustrator for various magazines, including Vogue, Tatler and Women's Wear Daily. That is the Biba girl, embodiment of the innocent decadence of her time, brilliant brainchild of the designer Barbara Hulanicki and brought to life as the retailing phenomenon of the Sixties and Seventies by Barbara's husband, Fitz. When Fitz became ill in October they closed it. Closing down sale, 4th of September 1975. The daughter of a Polish diplomat who was assassinated in Palestine in 1948, Barbara had left Brighton art school by then and was a successful fashion illustrator.

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