Barbara Hulanicki receives an Honorary Doctorate as a new exhibition opens.
15 Aug 2013
World famous designer Barbara Hulanicki OBE, collected an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Brighton last week, before the opening of a new exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery about her life and work.
Barbara, who is a Brighton design graduate, created a retail revolution in 1960s with her now legendary fashion brand, Biba. She later went on to a highly successful career in international fashion, interior design and architecture.
Barbara, graduated in the early 60s, initially embarking on a career as a fashion illustrator working for Paris fashion shows and magazines including Vogue and Tatler, before opening her first Biba store in London’s Kensington in 1964.
A keen supporter of the faculty’s work, Barbara visited the faculty in 2009 to meet graduates and current students and share her memories and industry knowledge, as a film about her life, Beyond Biba, was launched.
Faculty Fashion History Professor, Lou Taylor, recalls how the event attracted a capacity crowd in the faculty’s Sallis Benney Theatre and on meeting Barbara, Professor Taylor explained to her that there was enormous local interest in her work. It was at the same event that Barbara also met curator Martin Pell from Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and the idea for the current exhibition was born.
The exhibition is the first attempt to cover the entirety of Hulanicki’s life and work and draws on a collection of some 3,000 pieces from two of the largest collectors in the world, plus individual donations from the public who have hung-on to treasured items.
The exhibition aims to tell Barbara’s story alongside that of her work. Born in Warsaw to Polish parents, her father was assassinated in Palestine when she was 12 years old and she and her two sisters, Beatrice and Biba were brought to Brighton by their aunt Sophie.
The exhibition entitled Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki, runs until 14 April 2013.
Image: Ron Falloon