The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has often been seen as an area rich in history, culture and fashion. One icon that best represents these ideals is the Biba building in Kensington. The Sunday Times dubbed Big Biba “The Most Beautiful Store in the World”. It was a shop like no other, before or since.
Starting from humble beginnings this store would soon dominate the fashion world of the 60’s and 70’s. It was famed for its many floors selling goods that ranged from clothing to books to wallpaper to children’s goods. Each floor was also designed with its own style and symbol making it a standout attraction for those who visited. It was a fabulous fantasy palace that brought the indulgence of Hollywood to the world of retail.
In this fascinating talk, Steven Thomas one of the lead designers of the ‘Big Biba’ store will explore the history of Biba giving an in depth insight into the store and its design and summarising on its lasting impact not only for the borough but also for the wider fashion scene.
This event is supported by the Chelsea Arts Club.
About the speaker
Steven Thomas is a designer and visual artist. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art, where he was tutored by Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield and John Hoyland. He soon went into the design world forming Whitmore-Thomas Design Associates. Within ten years, the company had designed works for Biba, and it was their designs that would help make the store a standout attraction.
Whitmore-Thomas would soon go on to work with other high-profile brands and names, such as Paul McCartney, Kronenbourg, Lloyds Bank, Subaru, British American Tobacco, Pepsi Cola and Virgin. Steven now uses his vast experience to produce several new suites of prints.