Biba Memories

Sunday, 3rd October 2010

One of my boarding school room-mates was the daughter of fashion writer Cherry Twiss, and a rich mine of makeup samples. Our lips and lids were always nicely frosted baby pinks and blues, until one day Miranda’s weekly parcel from home revealed an astonishing bounty. Small bottles of nail varnish: darkest red, deepest purple and - great offerings to the all gods of fashion – black. Biba, said the labels, in swirly metallic lettering. Miranda sold me a nail varnish and bluish lipstick for 50p each. Steep, I thought, falling even more in love with my gothic haul.

I had vaguely remembered designer Barbara Hulanuki’s second Biba store in Kensington High Street, trailing after my mother on her shopping trips, but later we went to the ‘department’ Biba shop in the old Derry & Toms building. We’d eat burgers in the restaurant and enjoy the view of fluttering ostrich feathers, printed chiffon and black, lots of black - a colour that as teenagers we were not permitted to wear. Now Biba is coming back as a good value fashion range, into House of Fraser stores. My daughter paints her nails midnight blue in excitement. Darling, we were there.

Author: Rose Prince

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