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Welcome to Big Biba: Inside the Most Beautiful Store in the World [Hardcover]

Steven Thomas , Alwyn Turner
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Welcome to Big Biba: Inside the Most Beautiful Store in the World Welcome to Big Biba: Inside the Most Beautiful Store in the World 4.6 out of 5 stars (10)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2006
Big Biba, the final flowering of Barbara Hulanicki's legendary Biba store in London, was a shop like no other, before or since. It was a fabulous fantasy palace that brought the indulgence of Hollywood to the world of retail. Big Biba lasted just two years before it fell victim to recession, but the myth of 'the most beautiful store in the world' continues to enchant both its former habitues and those who came to it too late. Founded as a corner-shop selling just one dress, Biba had grown in less than a decade to become a seven-storey department store filled with own-brand products throughout. Here, the committed Bibaphile could buy not only a new wardrobe, fully co-ordinated from head to toe, but also a complete range of cosmetics and soft furnishings, together with the washing powder to care for her clothes, and food for both herself and her pets, all presented in the distinctive Biba packaging. Alternatively, she could just hang out, either lounging in the shop-windows (Biba didn't do window-displays), or sipping cocktails upstairs amongst the flamingos that lived in the Roof Garden, or in the Rainbow Room, where on a good night there might be a live performance by the likes of the New York Dolls, Liberace or the Manhattan Transfer. "Welcome to Big Biba" is the first book dedicated entirely to this dreamland, with over 150 colour photographs - most published here for the first time - of the store and of the products and graphics created for the various departments, from bathrooms to ball-gowns, from cosmetics to colouring-books. Styled by Steven Thomas, the designer of Big Biba itself, and with text by Alwyn W Turner, author of "The Biba Experience", this book evokes the glamour, humour and fantasy of the store, the audacious style that could turn a shop girl into a Hollywood star. Foreword is by Barbara Hulanicki.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Antique Collectors' Club Ltd (1 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185149524X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851495245
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 34.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 782,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BIGGER and BIGGERand BIBA 23 Jun 2006
Format:Hardcover
Absolutely beautiful pictures and a walk through the huge experience that the big Biba shop was. I went there on numerous occasions,latterly with my (then)2 year old daughter who completely adored the children's floor, so much so that we ended up spending the whole day in there quite often. Not that I was complaining! Also remember being encouraged to try on a vevet suit and walk around in it-no I did not nick it but split the trousers in the crotch when taking them off. Great times remembered via this super book which I consider a bargain.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, excellent pictures 22 Oct 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A must have if you're into Biba. Though it only focus on the last Biba shop, , the book contains beautiful quality pictures, a highly visual trip through the store, plus the instore magazine published on the opening and a lovely retro bookmark. If you like Art Deco, fashion, and a bit of the 70's glitter, that's a book for you. Biba will always be a big loss, something that we probably will never experience ever again because it was something of its own time. It was high time someone paid a tribute to the the wildest retail fantasy ever achieved (check also the great other books on the subject 'The Biba Experience' and 'In Biba').
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings Back Memories 30 May 2011
Format:Hardcover
A great, well researched & beautilfully illustrated book about Bibas attempt at running a department store at the old Derry & Toms site in Kensington High Street, London in the early 1970's. I worked there in the pastry dept. from day one helping to cook the "slighty different" products/dishes created by Barbara Hulanicki, Fitz.(her late husband)& their team, & would see the both of them most days travelling in the staff lift at the rear of the store to work. So this book brought back a lot of memories(mostly happy ones) for me. Just a shame they over extended themselves & couldn't survive you will never see another store quite like the Biba store again. It really was a store of its time.
Just a foot note, apparently it was said at the time that more Biba goods went through the door than went through the tills so this probably helped to play a part in its eventual demise, sad but possibly true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, bold Biba. 12 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I visited Biba's big store as a young teenager on holiday to London and it left a huge impression on me. The book brought those memories flooding back and beautifully evoked an amazing era. It was a truly monumental creation, the like of which we are never likely to see again. The photos and accompanying text outline how the whole endeavour came about. The photos are superb and there are even samples of the menus at the back of the book.A beautiful book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a classic of its time 11 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book brought back so many memories of a fantastic time in London when we were all young and free
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