Biba 1970s Pretty In Purple Classic Rose and Lavender Floral Print Plunge Back Peek-a-Boo Midi Dress
Fashion label heavyweight ‘Biba’ was the brainchild of Polish born Barbara Hulanicki, who with the help of her late husband Stephen, opened her first boutique in Kensington, London in 1964.
With a background in fashion illustration, Barbara was fortunate enough to share her unique visions with the likes of Vogue and Tatler, before selling her early designs through mail order columns of tabloid newspapers including the Daily Mirror.
With a reputation for decadence and art nouveau decor, her small shop was soon overrun by celebrities such as The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, while boasting affordable mini-skirts, felt hats, feather boas and trouser suits for the general public, a trend that showed no signs of stopping, and which led to a second store opening soon afterwards.
Drawing upon the mass appeal and overwhelming demand, Biba soon became available by mail order while the stores themselves remained popular, until Biba was relocated in favour of a much larger store on the Kensington High Street around 1973.
Here the Biba brand quickly spread to interior furnishings, food and makeup, while demand for the dresses and mini-skirts expanded to maxi coats and later high-end couture, thereby catering to a diverse range of clientele while slowly moving the brand more upmarket.
Unfortunately this drive for growth and expansion came at a price, and after years of unstable financial management, the majority Biba shareholding was sold to Dorothy Perkins and American singer Dennis Day. Now a limited company, Barbara soon found herself in creative conflict with her partners and sadly left Biba Ltd in 1975, shortly before its closure.
Barbara Hulanicki now resides in Miami, Florida, and following House of Fraser’s acquisition of the Biba rights in 2014, she has returned back to the label she once created, while serving as a consultant to its new owners.
This is a spectacular piece, crafted as a dreamboat pretty in purple frock from the printed satin label used during their transition to ‘Big Biba’, this particular design creates an utterly ravishing and unusual garment, fashioned in a clingy jersey fabric, with a deep plunge back, plunging peek-a-boo bodice, flippy skirting and the prettiest delicately padded shoulders, all of which amounts to a gloriously sassy dress.
Fabric No label present however looks and feels like polyester cotton so washable
Size No label present but will fit UK 8-10
Alterations Small 2 cm repair to tied bust area as shown in pictures, yet barely visible in folds of noted and bowed fabric
A full metal zip to the back and seam allowance of at least 1″ in three areas will allow for alteration in size by a skilled seamstress
Excellent (see condition chart)
Measured flat without stretching (please double for complete size)
Neckline Opening 11″
Shoulder To Shoulder (across back) 13″
Bust (at widest point) 16″
Under Bust 13″
Length (collar to hem) 41″
Sleeve Length (underarm to cuff) 19″
Sleeve Length (collar to cuff) 26″
Mannequin is UK 8-10 | Bust 31.5″ | Waist 24″ | Hips 34.5″
The dress was not pinned for photography purposes