A Biba dress from 1971

Last night was my first off three halloween nights out in a row. Why I do it to my liver… I am not quite sure, but I just had to share the dress I wore last night.


I’ve always loved Biba clothes, in part because Barbara Hulanicki’s clothes were over-ridingly designed for skinny flat chested pre pubescent shaped girls with twig like arms, which pretty much describes my body type. I don’t have many pieces by Biba but all of them are real statement pieces that feel amazing to wear (you can see my post about my yellow satin Biba blouse here). This dress was a must buy for me though. These medieval sleeved Biba dresses come up on ebay relatively often, but their fabulous shape tends to represent an equally fabulous price tag. I’ve seen this design go for over £200 on a number of occasions. With this one though I struck lucky, partly because the dress hadn’t been very well listed. This number came to me costing £66 earlier this year. I was ever so happy though to find that there was a little bit of provenance with the dress, on purchasing it the original owner sent me a message through ebay about the dress,

“my mother bought the dress for her winter wedding in 1971. She travelled up from South Coast to Carnaby street to go to Biba, as it was THE place to go then as you know.”

The lady who I purchased it from went on to tell me that she had worn the dress clubbing in the 90s. I love a story like that!


The dress needs a suitable occasion though, because as much as I would love to, doing your weekly shop in sainsburys wearing a velvet maxi dress with a thigh high split may well garner some interesting stares. I thought the dress actually had quite a Halloween like vibe to it, so it was a perfect dress to wear last night.


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The dress has so many features though that make it one of the most comfortable dresses to wear (I sort of felt like I was wearing a dressing gown I have to say) The dress fastens right down the front with velvet covered buttons, but these only go as far as the very top of your thigh meaning that the dress is almost split to knicker level. As you stride this gives the dress a sensational shape, that I couldn’t quite capture in pictures. The slim line of the dress perfectly contrasts with the huge sleeves, that are actually so big you feel like you may take off when wearing it. Although the thing I love most about this dress? The sweetheart bodice, I think this may be the only dress in the world that gives me, even with my pathetic 30b bust line, a cleavage! It was amazing actually how confident this dress made me feel, the dramatic shape of it really makes you stand up tall (oh, and perhaps the fact I was wearing 6 inch platforms!) and I certainly received a lot of interesting glances/ stares last night!

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2 thoughts on “A Biba dress from 1971

  1. It is completely fabulous, and your inkling about it being a dressing gown is spot on. That year, there were some very glamorous nightwear pieces, designed for the boudoir, but more often than not worn to nightclubs. I remember bias cut long nightdresses with diamante spaghetti straps and satin robes with marabou feather trim. This robe had a matching maxi slip-dress

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