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Biba was an essential ingredient of the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960s. Founded by Barbara Hulanicki, who had studied fashion illustration at Brighton School of Art, the business was launched by selling cheap, fashionable clothes by mail order. The first Biba fashion boutique was opened in London's Knightsbridge in 1964. Essentially nostalgic yet glamorous, the Biba ‘look’ drew on a variety of exotic sources ranging from the Hollywood of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Art Deco through to Art Nouveau, highly visible in the swirling, curvilinear forms of John McConnell's company logo of 1968. Having produced its first catalogue in the same year, the company extended its product lines with the launch of its cosmetics range in 1970. Biba moved into its final location, the former Derry & Toms department store, in 1973, where interiors such as the Rainbow Room reflected the romance of the 1930s it sought to espouse. Although the business closed in 1975, the company was relaunched in 1995 by Ellen Shek.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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