I’m so very, very curious about the Barbara Hulanicki collection for Topshop, that I used my detective skills to find more about the collection (these detective skills are also very practical when you want to know more about potential boyfriends. 😉 While looking for info I read a lot about Barbara, and she’s a fascinating person. So more info in this post about her and her Topshop collection.
Orange dress. I really like the sleeves.
Large shopper bag, £25.
Suede jacket (£125) with matching shorts
More about the collection: there seems to be a “good girl / bad girl” theme. There’s a T-shirt with an image of a hand holding the breasts (bad girl), and flowing chiffon dresses (good girl). Other items are printed chiffon blouses, skin-tight flares plastered in animal prints, three-quarter sleeve suede jackets and wide-leg jumpsuits with cutaway shoulders.
The designer herself with Kate Moss
Barbara Hulanicki has said some really interesting things about her Biba past and this Topshop collaboration (she now lives in Miami, and works as an interior designer):
- “Miami is a very fashion conscious town. It’s a bit booby here, there is a lot of showing of everything and the clothes are disco-cheesy and really, really skin-tight. The sun sends people a bit mad. My collection is a reaction against that– it’s got a more European aesthetic and it’s more about covering up – although maybe the blue leopard print was inspired by the city. I haven’t worn any of the collection yet, it’s awfully difficult to get a sample! There is a little suede jacket with shoulder pads that I want. We used small, perky shoulder pads a lot at Biba, but this new generation doesn’t know how to get them right because they have had this awful vision from Dallas and it’s not that at all.”
- “Topshop works in the same way Biba did. Very simply, clothes go in and out, and God help you if you think too long about buying something because when you come back it will be gone. The originality and imagination that I saw in Biba is still going strong. I came over for London Fashion Week and the audience looked amazing, so individual. I gave Topshop lots of sketches, and having said they didn’t want Biba-style pieces, they chose all the 1960s and 1970s designs. I can’t get away from it. I’m not bothered though, I was completely in their hands – they know their market.”
- “My work ethic has always been very strong in whatever project I’ve been involved in, and I think that’s down to my Polish roots. Poles just keep on going. I’ve never known an entire nation to work so hard; I think it’s a built-in national characteristic.”
- “I don’t tend to think about the Biba era that much these days, although people always want to talk about it. People will come up to me and tell me more times than not that they stole something, and I say: “Good for you!””
- “There was absolutely nothing for young women to wear in the early Sixties. I was desperate, that’s why I opened the boutique. I was 24 and in those days that was very old. Before that I used to draw the collections for various magazines, and I had nothing to wear. It wasn’t like today, the fashion editors wore very simple clothes with one row of pearls, which is the last thing I wanted to do. Many of our customers left home when they were 18 or 20 because they would get all this, “yak, yak, yak… what are you wearing?” from their parents. They would live in bedsits, they didn’t spend much on food, and people hung out in shops like ours, so they had money for a dress a week. Girls would come in the morning with bare faces, then make themselves up in front of a mirror with all the cosmetics.”
- “Fashion is the first thing that grabs change, and it moves so fast, and some things disappear, and some things stay, but it usually takes on the mood of what’s going on in the world. I’m not young any more, but my fashion dreams never stop. I’d love to do more clothes for the mass public, stuff that’s affordable, that you don’t feel guilty about.”
- “These days I think it’s sad that modern celebrities can never develop their own tastes. They get swamped with freebies, and stylists. There are only a couple who choose their own clothes and aren’t afraid to make mistakes, like Scarlett Johansson, who does her own thing rather well, and Sienna Miller, who’s always interesting. Paris Hilton is not one of my favourites.”
And check out her house, it looks amazing!