Barbara Hulanicki: Art Deco W14

art deco, art nouveau, barbara hulanicki, biba, interior design, James Mortimer, seventies fashion, Vogue
A section of the studio. Beneath the gallery one discovers a sink, kettle. cooker below a thirties’ Grecian frieze. Art Deco chairs in peach moquette. Screen, with beaded shawl. purple plastic  grapes behind a delicate nasturtium-leaf lamp hung with beaded fringe
Barbara Hulanicki at home in one cavernous studio which she found three years ago and filled with Art Deco from floor to ceiling. Walls, ceiling, stairs, all painted a rich matt brown, merge into the shadowy interior; angles and lines are softened and blurred. Colours, not walls, mark out living areas, a different shade for each section of space. Light is filtered through the brown-tinted glass of the high, patterned perpendicular window and a long fanlight in the roof. A brown spiral staircase, leafy with plastic twisting plants, leads to a long gallery which forms the dressing-rooms. Everywhere, an endlessly intricate arrangement of colour, pattern, space; a deep, dark brown jungle of the ornamental, the exotic, the glittering.

Photos by James Mortimer. Vogue, October 1975.
The dressing-room. Shades of peach and deepest brown, Creamy lighting from bulbs set behind opaque glass. Peach mirrors hung with beads, the dressing table, a darker shade of smoked peach, made up of tiny individual drawers. Stool topped with smoked peach glass.
The bath, a riot of peach and plastic flowers. Ornate brass taps, Art Deco screen. Brilliant blue glass, candlesticks and pearly plastic grapes.
Barbara Hulanicki in the sitting-room, the window open to reveal a jungle of climbing plants outside. In the background, a collection of Art Deco glass below the enormous mirror, at least six feet in diameter. Everywhere lamps, small, fringed or mushroom-topped on long, slender stems: everywhere figures, ferns, flowers. In foreground, a set of black/silver/turquoise vases and modelled head on decorated brass tray and glass-sided table: replica of a twenties’ cigarette girl, now bearing a tray of jewellery.
Looking down from the gallery into the studio, arranged into its separate “rooms”
The bed, above, hung with shawls, scattered with sequinned brocaded cushions. Barbara Hulanicki reflected in the bedside mirror on the writing desk and in the centre of the mirrored bed-head. On the right, a peach mirror flex set of shelves, with photographs, figures, eight Art Deco plastic handbags.

15 thoughts on “Barbara Hulanicki: Art Deco W14

  1. Usually neither brown nor much from the 1970s are my favourite things, but I would happily go back three and a half decades for that! What a wonderful house.

  2. LOVE! Hard to believe with so many of us girls ga-ga over Biba that it had such a short life and Barbara's style evolved out of the Biba aesthetic. I think if someone to recreate a Biba-like shop in this day in age it would be a sensation. I just watched a short documentary on her called "Beyond Biba": that gets in to her post-Biba life in Miami and how she altered the style of the city.

  3. Hi my dear-wow, how very decadent and unique, how glorious to be able to live in such splendour!! Thanks for your lovely comment, I looked again at your pop art exhibition post hoping your dress may have been on there, would love to see it!! The Worth dress was literally falling apart under the arms, I would so have loved to keep it as a dress, at least the skirt is the next best thing xxx

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