Image Credit: Barbara Hulanicki by Dania Grabie
Q&A with Barbara Hulanicki, OBE, fashion designer and founder of Biba.
Places in London that inspire you?
The Tate Modern: the Ai Weiwei show in 2011 was a favourite. I love the architecture and the sweep of the Turbine Hall, the proportions of the interiors and the restaurant on the top floor and the views of the river and a growing new London set against the old buildings. I love the films, the costumes, the jewellery, the beautiful courtyard and the fantastic shop and bookstore at The Victoria and Albert Museum. I love old London’s gracious hushed atmosphere at Hatchards in Piccadilly.
The Wolseley is fantastic for its vast layout and the untouched details of what was a grand car showroom, and how the assorted people are dwarfed by the height of the ceiling. When you travel as much as I do The Grocer on Elgin is perfect for grabbing a ready-made meal. There soups are divine – I haven’t had anything that wasn’t delicious from this Ladbroke Grove shop. 202 in Westbourne Grove is worth a visit to see a young generation of ladies who lunch and yummy mummies, and the occasional celebrity. And for a good delve through overpriced frocks downstairs.
Must-visits when in town?
My first stall visit in Portobello Market is near the entrance of the Portobello Arcade. Fantastic World War I uniforms displayed on body stands of Her Majesty and Colonel Thatcher. Selfridges has the only jeans department that I can understand; it is beautifully and simply laid out. And I love the section of Gothic designers such as Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh. Oxford Street’s Topshop is always worth a commercial look around; I go to count the people in the cash queue here in the heart of the empire and to see how they are doing. And all the big designers on Mount Street such as Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Christopher Kane, McQueen, Balmain… And Dover Street Market – I loved the oddball layout of the old store, the many carefully selected and unheard of designers, and of course the wacky selections of Rei Kawakubo, which one day I will be brave enough to try on.
What can you not visit without?
A copy of Time Out for a funky hipster-boy view of London and what’s on and where to eat. And Love Magazine: I’m always interested in what Katie Grand is thinking.
There are so many fun eats in Soho such as the candlelit restaurant Andrew Edmunds on Lexington Street which has been untouched since the year dot – there aren’t many places left in their original state like this.
Art by Barbara Hulanicki is on display in some of the guestrooms of the Laslett.