Object of the month for December 2010

Each month we will feature a different object relating to the Museum with a unique story to tell.

Bottle of elderflower wine bought in the 'Big Biba' department store in Kensington High Street 1973 - 1975.
As we are deep into the party season and with Christmas Day and New Year celebrations to follow we have chosen this unique wine bottle from our galleries to toast in January 2011. Barbara Hulanicki set up her first Biba shop in Abingdon Road in Kensington in 1964. Over the next ten years she opened three more stores each larger than its predecessor. When Biba toook over the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street and opened 'Big Biba', it expanded its range of merchandise. A large food hall was opened in the basement where products were arranged in unique display units, for example baked beans were placed on shelving shaped like a baked bean tin. Everything was packaged with a Biba logo.

Biba's distinctive black and gold art deco logo and the interiors, merchandise and packaging of the shops all borrowed from the past. The shops wooed their customers with a heady blend of nostalgia, dreams and drama creating a startlingly innovative retail enviroment. This trouser suit is typical of the retro-styled clothing sold by Biba in the early 1970s.

The jacket's broad, padded shoulders and wide lapels look back to the 1930s. The buttons which fasten the jacket like pairs of cufflinks add a witty pop-art touch To find out more on London fashions throughout history visit our online resource for the 'London Look': http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/archive/exhibits/londonlook/index.asp In 2009 Biba was relaunched as a fashion label after closing in 1975.

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