Design nostalgia- Barbara Hulanicki and Biba

One of my favourite designers is Barbara Hulanicki whose eclectic style is now enjoying a renaissance, so I recently went to take a look at the ‘Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki’ exhibition to revel in some groovy, nostalgic glamour.

Installed at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery at the Royal Pavilions and covering highlights of the life of the phenomenal designer, this retrospective had some wonderful original exhibits many loaned by other Biba fans.

Hulanicki’s iconic designs for clothing, lifestyle, interior design and architecture were influenced by Art Nouveau, Art deco, Victorian, old Hollywood glamour and pop art. The familiar black and gold colours synonymous with the Biba brand logo were inspired by windows and signs left behind from a former chemist shop which became the first Biba store.

‘Sludgy’ colours such as plum, mulberry, green, brown and of course black, characterised Biba clothing and then later, lifestyle products.


We can still access a bit of retro Biba glamour for our homes. Barbara Hulanicki has created a paint range available from with delicate ‘Vintage Pales’, macabre and dramatic ‘Gothic’ and earthy ‘Mono’ colour palettes. I love the look of the paint tins alone!

Complementing the paint range, the ‘Flock’ collection of wallpaper from  mixes metallic colours with Hollywood cerise, burnt orange, purple grape and petrol tones.

(images courtesy, Graham & Brown,