CVFF interviews Barbara Hulanicki

We’re always drooling over the amazing BIBA pieces that come through our doors so we couldn’t turn down a chance to speak to the woman who started it all.

Barbara Hulanicki OBE helped define the 1960s and is still working as tirelessly as ever today! She’s just launched a new scarf collection for her fashion label Iconclub which feature her own original illustrations and we think they certainly have something of the original BIBA vibe about them brought into the 21st century. Definitely an investment in future vintage!

So does she still look to vintage to inspire her designs? What does she think of the revival of 1960s and 1970s fashion? Will she ever give up working? Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair asks the fashion legend for her opinions…

As someone who has worked in fashion throughout many decades, do you use vintage fashion as inspiration?

I was inspired by Vintage during the sixties….I would look for inspiration from the thirties and forties. It is interesting how what I thought looked thirties then looks today. It is completely that particular period. Fashion goes around and around. Let’s face it; there are only certain things you can design for the human body. That’s what makes scarves so brilliant.

What’s your favourite era of fashion and why?

I love Art Nouveau, which at the time was very avant-garde. The clothes and their incredible volume, and the disappearance of corsets, it must have liberated women.

What do you think about the revival of 60s and 70s fashion in modern fashion?

Oh boy! Seen and done it and to me it’s not really new, the designers are stuck!

Talk us through the concepts for the illustrations on the new scarf collection…

It is so exciting to work with new digital printing techniques. In the past, I was restricted by cost because of the number of screens one would want for a design yet today it’s so wonderful to design on a computer, anything is possible. I generally start with an original illustration and we scan it in the computer and have a go with colors, styles, prints etc.

Why did you decide to manufacture the new scarf line in Britain?

I just wanted so badly to work with a UK factory like I did during the BIBA days where we manufactured everything in London’s East End.

What’s your design philosophy?

I just keep observing everything and watch how and when fashion changes. The most recent is how the high heel died! I was wondering when women would just say STOP.

We think it’s incredible that you’re still working, do you think you will ever stop designing?

There is no “work” word in my vocabulary. There is so much more to learn and absorb from new situations and meeting new people.

What are you most proud of in your career?

It hasn’t happened yet, it’s coming!

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