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Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki sits down to discuss her latest fashion range

27 APRIL 2011

See Barbara's George at Asda collection


What's your style signature? How has your design signature evolved throughout the years?
I have worked as an illustrator, stylist, costume designer, interior designer - I am working on paint colours at the moment - I like the diversity in my life so my design signature is constantly being shaped by new experiences. I love originality and I can sit and sketch for hours whilst designing.

Who is your modern day muse?
It has to be someone like Chloe Sevigny - she has a unique sense of style.

What are your tips for pulling together the luxe love child look? Clever layering? Statement head gear?
It's all those things - wearing great accessories can make an outfit whether it's a quirky hat or flowers in your hair, the make -up and the glossy big hair, it's about dressing up and enjoying yourself.

What's been your most memorable fashion moment?
Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina Fair


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How do you remember the Biba day? What's your fondest memory?
I remember being scared to bits, it was so fast paced and styles just kept being sold out. My fondest memory is of the opening of the big Biba store, it was a very emotional day.

How does the world of fashion in the 1960's differ from the world of fashion in the 2000s?
There wasn't really a fashion world for the young, I remember it was an open field to launch my label and the public were hugely receptive and thankful to get anything - the fact is was fun fashion and everyone could afford it was wonderful.

What's the best fashion lesson you could teach our readers?
Try and develop your own sense of style, try mixing things up rather than a head to toe look from just one designer - fashion should be fun and enjoyed by everyone not just the privileged and that's why I have chosen to work with George. When I met Fiona Lambert (Brand Director at George) and she talked about making fashion accessible to all it struck a chord because that was always my intention when I started in the fashion business.

What is your inspiration for the collection for George?
I am inspired by life. I love prints and colour and believe fashion should be a fun experience that everyone can enjoy - for me it's about finding treasure, hunting for a wonderful thing whether it's a one-off original or something on the high street that fits a person well and suits their individual style.

I worked originally as an illustrator and can often be found sketching and producing prints for hours - I love originality and I love producing original designs that can be easily accessed by the mass market.

What is the star piece from the collection?
I love the short dresses which work equally well as a longer tunic over wide retro pants. The shoulder pads and the flattering shapes make them unique.

Why did you choose George at Asda?
I met Fiona at a Q&A session at the Showing of 'Beyond Biba and she approached me about working with George and I connected with her enthusiasm and energy. As we talked I realised that what the George brand offers has a great resonance with what I have always set out to do - make affordable fashion with great quality.

It is hard to find people to work with who understand you must have expensive looking fabrics and offer it a good price - the fact that the new collection at George has the same price points as when I originally designed Biba makes it a perfect match made in heaven.

How much of your collection is inspired by Biba?
I am inspired now as I was inspired back then; I am a people watcher and I love art and interior design. I take inspiration from everything around me and I am fortunate to have travelled and lived in many places. The 60's and 70's were a great time for fashion and you can see some of those original designs in the shape of the sleeves, or the colourful prints in the new collection for George. Of course I have always loved the glamour of leopard print!

It's great that your offering gorgeous clothes at such affordable prices, why is this so important to you?
It has always been at the heart of my designing - that buying clothes should have a feel good factor, this is guilt free shopping! This isn't about buying beyond your means, compromising or feeling sad because you can't afford it - it's about enjoying fashion.

I like to feel that I play a part in making people happy and I love a bargain which makes me me happy, so that's why people can snap up some of my collection along with their grocery shop.




See Barbara's George at Asda collection

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