In the Spotlight: A Collection of Three 1960's Biba Clothing Catalogues



Click here to view this lot in the online catalogue.


On Monday 12th March Fellows shall be holding their auction of Vintage Jewellery & Accessories. With a selection of clothing, shoes and estimates ranging from £15 to £400, this ever-growing auction has something for all vintage lovers.


The vintage accessories section features some fashion memorabilia, by way of three Biba clothing catalogues from the late 60s, complete with their original order forms and envelope (Lot 977).


Biba was a brand that perfectly characterised London’s fashion atmosphere in the late 1960s. From humble beginnings as a mail order company, it established itself as the brand synonymous with sophistication and innovation.


Born of Barbara Hulanicki’s creative mind and husband Stephen Fritz-Simon’s business nous, Biba began as a small mail-order brand, selling cheap outfits from the couple’s ram-shackle flat. It was rapidly transformed following a feature in the Daily Mirror offering a pink gingham dress and headscarf for 25 shillings, which generated an impressive £14,000 worth of orders. This success enabled the couple to open their first store on Abingdon Road, Kensington in 1964. With its unconventional colours and styles, the shop quickly became something of a style Mecca for London’s young, liberated women.


Biba’s success continued and, following its move to a seven-story department store (suitably named Big Biba) in 1974, it transformed itself from a simple clothing label to a full-on lifestyle brand, stamping its logo on anything from baked beans to colouring books. Sadly, the fashion fairy tale was not to last as Hulanicki’s optimistic over-expansion could not be sustained without external financial backing. Disagreements over creative control with investors caused Hulanicki and Fritz-Simon to quit in 1975. However, the duo’s legacy continues as Biba remains an iconic brand which continues to inspire today’s vintage trend.