Thursday, September 02, 2010

Movie Review - Beyond Biba

James Collie, producer of the film "Beyond Biba" sent me a copy of the movie to review. The film will be released on DVD in the US this month, and will have several US screenings this fall. See the Beyond Biba Movie website for more information.

I must admit, the British fashion scene is not my area of expertise, so I was intrigued to learn more about Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki. The film is essentially a series of interviews with Hulanicki and her friends and colleagues augmented with photographs and brief archival film clips. In the first half of the film, we are given an overview of Barbara's childhood and a brief history of the rise and fall of the Biba stores. The second half jumps forward to 1987 and gives a somewhat vague look at Hulanicki's work in interior design in the South Beach area of Miami.

While the film held my interest, I was left with a sense of frustration. As a vintage fashion aficionado, the main reason I wanted to watch it was to learn about the Biba stores, the clothing, and Hulinicki's design process. While there were some fabulous images of original Biba clothing and catalog images, these were panned in extreme close-up, so you could not see an entire garment in one glance. The archival film clips taken inside and outside the stores were all too brief and left me wanting a far more in-depth study. Perhaps someday, we will get one. For now, I do recommend the film with the caveat that you will not learn as much as you would like about the Biba phenomenon of the 1960s.