A two page feature on Biba which was included in a fairly extensive report about the 'Long-haired English Scene' for Paris Match, published just a month after the shop had relocated from Abingdon Road to the new larger premises at 19-21 Kensington Church Street in March of 1966. This report also predates the more widely known Time Magazine 'London―The Swinging City' edition of the same year, which proclaimed London as the city of the decade and cited Biba as the 'most in Shop' for girls, by two weeks.
BIBA KENSINGTON CHURCH STREET
The mini-skirt conquers the street but not the old Londoners!
A strange shop, Kensington Church Street. Only a sort of porthole hints at what it hides—inside the 1900 decor, with garnet and gold wallpaper, green plants and old mahogany furniture, hundreds of ultra-short dresses hang from hangers! Their price—less than 50 francs, and an uninterrupted stream of young people from all walks of life, from fourteen to twenty, fight over them. This is the latest fashion store. The name is "Biba". Tomorrow, in a nearby street, yet another new shop will open, and it too will attract many people: even if it seems to appear willingly old fashioned, because one of the main concerns of the new generation is "good" clothing. There are cases of young girls who buy ten dresses a week.
A mini-skirted customer enters Biba, 19-21 Kensington Church Street, (March 1966).
On the outside looking in, a passer-by peers through the mysterious window at Biba, Kensington Church Street, (March 1966).
Yet another curious passerby caught on camera through the Art Nouveau window designed by Antony Little for Biba, 19-21 Kensington Church Street (March, 1966).
Biba sales assistant, Kensington Church Street, (March, 1966).
Stephen Fitz-Simon photographed with the sales assistants Dee Dee, Eva, Sarah, Monique (in background), Rosy, Biruta (Barbara Hulanicki's younger sister) and Susie, at Biba, 19-21 Kensington Church Street (March, 1966).
IMAGE CREDITS & LINKS
All images scanned by Sweet Jane from Paris Match, Issue No. 886, April 2nd, 1966. All Photographs by Patrice Habans. Further reading about the aforementioned Time Magazine 'London: The Swinging City' issue published April 15th 1966 via 'The Youngest Legend in History: Cultures of Consumption and the Mythologies of Swinging London' by David Gilbert, for The London Journal. View some of my previous posts about Biba at 19-21 Kensington Church Street, including this fantastic 'full colour' feature for LOOK Magazine published a year later Biba: London's Mini Mecca (1967); Biba: Mini, Minier, Miniest! (1967). Another view through that Art Nouveau window in The Swinging Revolution (1966). Four minutes and forty-one seconds inside Biba Kensington Church St. More about the man behind the Art Nouveau window design: Biba Artist & Interior Designer Antony Little and also Antony Little: Beardsley, Biba, and Beyond. And finally, one for all those curious passers-by, Little Anthony & the Imperials - I'm On The Outside (Looking In).