BIBA and Beyond Exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 23 - 2013

Whilst in Brighton on Tuesday, I went along to check out the BIBA and Beyond exhibition at the wonderfully-quirky Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, situated just behind the Royal Pavillion building. The museum is hosting a fascinating retrospective on the designs of Barbara Hulanicki whose iconic work span the last 50-years. She’ll forever be known as the woman who brought affordable fashion to the high-street back in the 60s with the launch and opening of her first shop in West London.

The exhibition centres around an impressive display of vintage BIBA clothing, donated largely by one Angie Smith, better known as “Biba Angie” for her obvious passion for the designer’s creations. From graphic dresses to flared trouser-suits, sharply-tailored coats to cute swimsuits, the display captures the essence of the polish-born designer’s imaginations and brings them back to life with a narrative that tells the story of the brand from conception to current-day.

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Barbara’s work, first as a freelance fashion illustrator is documented via a series of drawings and sketches, most notably the one below of Audrey Hepburn.

The accompanying quote sets the tone for the exhibition that pitches the designer (quite rightly) as someone who was acutely aware of how the “real world” worked, she comes across as someone who has never lost touch with what it means to be a dedicated follower of fashion minus the limitless budget of the modern celebrity.

Her feistiness and determination to provide real-world glamour for the archetypal Biba Girl – feminine to the max but with a tough, untouchable edge – reached its peak in the early 70s when Big Biba, a seven-storey department store opened under the moniker “‘the most beautiful store in the world”.

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The hallowed Art Deco building on Kensington High Street housed everything the BIBA fan desired, from trendy clothes to designer furniture, from makeup to paints and wallpaper, you could even buy Biba-branded soup and baked beans!

The collection of BIBA cosmetics on display at the exhibition has been loaned to the museum by none other than the wonderful Lisa Eldridge who has a great demonstration on You Tube dedicated to creating the Biba Dolly look as worn by the girls in the shop. BIBA was the first store that let customers try makeup before buying it, leading the way and creating the blueprint that other stores would follow.

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The colours are vibrant and richly-pigmented, vampy Clara Bow-esque lips were the order of the day and smokey eyes with plenty of lashes contributed to the finished look.

The packaging featured the dinstinctive black-and-gold logo and delivered practical performance, something that was almost as important as the contents to the modern BIBA shopper.

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I’m going to leave you with the rest of my photos from the exhibition, I’m not great at talking about or thinking about fashion and design… but if you have any interest in learning more about a true pioneer and forebearer to the modern high-street, do check out the BIBA and Beyond exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery before it closes on the 14th April. Adult tickets are £6, student tickets (with an NUS card) are £4.

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Biba Fever at House of Fraser!

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 7 - 2011

Back when Justin Bieber was nothing but a twinkle in his Grandfather’s eye, Biba was turning heads as an iconic 70s London store bringing fashion to the high street as the Top Shop of its day. The label is currently enjoying its 2nd relaunch and doing rather well, so much so, that the House of Fraser owned brand is on the cusp of relaunching Biba’s iconic makeup line with a beautiful capsule collection.

Biba Face Palette (34.00)

Six luxurious eyeshadows, a rich oyster pearl highlighter and dewy pink blusher to create alluring and sensuous looks-perfect from dawn unto dusk.


Biba Lipgloss Ring (£15.00)

This chunky cocktail ring will draw admiring glances with its nod to the iconic Biba logo. The lid slides to one side to reveal a shimmery pink gloss for the perfect pout! It can also be used to adorn your bag as a charm.


Biba Baked Eyeshadow Palette (£26.00)

Velvety soft mineral eyeshadows in opulent shades of molten metal and precious jewels. Use a dampened brush for intense long wearing colour.


Biba Luscious Lashes Duo (£18.00)

Biba lashes are sure to make a statement. Two pairs – one show stopping evening pair and one for a more natural day look will ensure that you are never overlooked.

Biba Lip Palette (£24.00)

Luscious and indulgent lip colours in five luxurious shades. Custom blend the lip colour for a unique style all of your own.

Biba Nail Polish Trio (£21.00)

Nail polish is the ultimate finishing touch to any look and these three stand-out shades will add a little something to every outfit.

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So there we have it, the re-launch of Biba Makeup. Not, as Barbara Hulanicki would have it, I’m almost positive of that. The collection most obviously strays from the affordable ethos that the original Biba held so close to its heart but I can’t deny that I’m loving the look of that nail polish trio and the baked eye palette for its Biba aesthetics and shade choices.

I was lucky enough to have been sent the lashes from the capsule collection and have passed them on to madame Lash Queen (Liloo) who has promised to give them an outing for us in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Biba Beauty launches exclusively in House of Fraser from the 1st October 2011.

Will you be checking out the return of Biba Beauty?

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