The legendary Designer Barbara Hulanicki was a major force in fashion in London in the 1960’s/1970’s : her seven-floor BIBA Department Store was as big as Harrods and far more important to the country’s youth. Her jam-packed career and unceasing influence on design is the stuff of movies (there had been one so far…) and has filled several books.
From London, she and her husband/partner Fitz went to Brazil, before arriving in Miami Beach in 1987 ostensibly to design a Night Club for her friend Ronnie Woods of the Rolling Stones. Despite the fact Miami was more than rough around the edges in those, Barbara fell in love with the Beach and stayed and created a Design Consultancy that is still flourishing today.
Now also incorporating designs on interiors and hotels as well as fashion, her work helped reshape Miami Beach as it began to establish as a major international destination.
Barbara Hulanicki is not just one of Queerguru’s neighbors here in Miami Beach, but we are very honored to be able to include her as a close friend. Nevertheless there is so much we still have to know about her . For example until we went to The Betsy Hotel here in Miami for a new exhibition of her work, we simply had no idea she was a photographer too.
London 1986, Après BIBA presents never-before-published photographs of the ballet “A Different Set of Muscles.” The ballet was choreographed by dancer Matthew Hawkins with costumes by Mr. Pearl , designer of the Wonder Woman Corset and of Kardashian fame.
The exhibit also includes members of Barbara’s set: Molly Parkin (fashion editor, painter, poet, hedonist) playing Cupid, Twiggy styled as a Fairy Queen, and Anna Piaggi (editor of Vogue Italia) in her own clothes. Also included are a series of images she created for an article in the London Standard newspaper in 1986.
PS: QUEERGURU managed to track down Fashion Designer & College Professor DEAN BRIGHT back in the UK and he sent us this message :
Pearl and I met Barbara through Molly Parkin, we were very starstruck. I remember we were invited to a party at Barbara’s apartment in honour of Anna Piaggi , we couldn’t believe the glamorous style of the interior and we actually got to speak to Anna, our knees trembling with nerves.
The photo session with the portrait of Pearl and Dean was done at Barbara’s studio in Holland Park. Pearl and I had been out very late the night before and turned up with bags and bags of our “dressing ups”. At the time Barbara was designing and sampling her cosmetic range and gave us literally buckets full of foundation in different shades plus huge pots of blusher, eyeshadows etc, so as you can see in the portrait we didn’t hold back and for the next few months we were plastered with the stuff. Barbara was and is always so good to be around as she has a very strong creative energy that is inspiring.
I had an amazing time in Miami with Barbara working on the Woodys project. Barbara had a very clear and grand vision for the project and it was a privilege to see her in action dealing with so many aspects of the job with style and humour. I never forget the time when we tried to wrap the building in lame’ fabric for a launch when there was a 100 mile per hour wind/hurricane: the building flooded the 30 foot bow we were trying to hoist onto the building blew away but we all rallied around and got it done in time. I worked on the costumes for opening night and we set up a sewing room/atelier in one of the buildings overlooking the beach. I do have some pics of Woodys at my place in London but only two on this laptop here where I’m staying during the pandemic with my father.
Pearl and I are still in awe of Barbara and were only talking about her the other day saying what a marvel of enthusiasm she is. Im not sure if Barbara knows this but Pearl and Dean always had a nickname for Barbara, we affectionately call her “Hula Hula”, and we often drink a toast in her name, cheers Hula Hula.