Continuing on my Iain R Webb tract, I've dug up these Bill Gibb archive images that I had been meaning to post give that Webb is personally fascinated with Gibb and wrote the book 'Bill Gibb; Fashion and Fantasy' (a succinct history of Gibb can be found here) as well as co-curating the exhibition that is on at the Museum of Costume in Bath.  I'm  berating myself for missing the exhibition that was at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London last year but that said, it is STILL on for a few more months at Bath (yes, I know a ton of you will come back with "Oh the exhibition is so great! Shame on you for having not been!").  Give me a spare weekend and a cheapie train ticket and I'll try and get myself down there to catch the last of it.

They've pitted Bill Gibb as an unsung fashion hero that fell prey to financial difficulty and a changing of times but in my mind Gibb's work is just as important and influential as his contemporary and rival Ossie Clark.  There's a reason these images have been stuck on my computer, refusing to be deleted for an age and it's perhaps his penchant for mixing prints that supposedly didn't match; checks, tartans, stripes, spots, Liberty prints and Fair Isle which all make sense in the flowing pattern landscapes that Gibb created for the likes of Bianca Jagger, Twiggy and Anjelica Huston. These black and white images only tell part of the tale as it's the colours in his prints that really make the clothes speak sense.  Again, I'll need a spare weekend to head down to Bath to see the clothes in their full glory.  It's quite sad to read how Gibb came to an end, with mountains of debt and his romantic clothes completely out of step with the 80s.  Of course we should give props to the chameleon designers that can move with the times but I think it's also important to salute those that had a resolutely one-pointed and stubbornly loyal view in fashion. I guess the only saving grace is that Gibb's spirit lives on in countless collections that have since past.  Whilst I may have missed the boat on the initial Gibb hoo-ha that ensued last year after the opening of the exhibitions, hopefully we're all still in the mood for fantasy prints, maximum volume and a dreamer's mentality…


Comments (20)

  1. sarah says:

    Quite a bit of Bill Gibb passed through Bang Bang when I worked there, and I can honestly say they were more breathtaking than Ossie Clarke or Biba. The colours! It’s sad he isn’t more celebrated.

  2. eliza says:

    Oh wow, thanks for this! It might be old news, but I hadn’t heard anything about it… Really great prints – I adore the giant owl on that skirt, and that second image…that dress! I would love it for the soon (wishful thinking…) to be summer months..

  3. Zenobie says:

    I went to Bath in November for a project on 19th century dress reform. Their Biba collection is immense, would be such a treat so see this though.

  4. Caroline says:

    I believe the current Foale and Tuffin exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum is also worth seeing. I’m going this weekend. And Iain R Webb has also written a brilliant book about this duo (

  5. Wonderful archive pics.
    I love his construction to create dramatic volume. Image 7 – that dress, what I would do for it….

  6. tanya says:

    ugh just got back from Bath and didnt realise this was on… spent too much time having a little bit too much fun in the Jane Austen Centre…

  7. WendyB says:

    I’m always looking for Gibbs pieces…hard to find!

  8. maggie says:

    I’ve never seen this before–I dropped of the fashion major before I learned anything beneficial except for basic sewing (no fashion history). They’re beautiful.

  9. Intan says:

    They are amazingg!!! Yes it is such a shame he wasnt as celebrated as he ought to be! 🙂 Wow. Thank you for posting this. I wish there were some pics in color… 😀

  10. Sarah Bee says:

    Ah I wish this was going on when I was in Bath in May, sigh. I actually love that these are in black and white, they just feel so whimsical, I don’t even need to see the color of the patterns.

  11. love your blog…

  12. love Gibs…just takes you in a completely different world.The owl is amazing. Thank you, just made my day

  13. Duck says:

    I was just watching your Ellie Goulding video to the right —->
    yesterday and thinking wow it’s really good, and then guess who was on Breakfast this morning after winning the BBC music for 2010 thing. 🙂

  14. hello! you should come to bath and see the exibition, it is worth it and the rest of the museum aint too shabby! if this isnt too creepy, as a long time reader, i’d happily show you around the (somewhat limited!) sights of bath, as i live there.

  15. diane says:

    OMG, stuff like this is what brings fashion back into focus. Just beautiful.
    Nice post.

  16. I went to the costume museum in Bath last week it was great (although I have so many times) but the Bill Gibb exhibition was amazing, would love to get hold of some vintage.
    Here is my post which has some pictures from the Bath exhibition.
    Funnily enough I was just daydreaming about beatiful dresses with birds on (as I watched the birds on my bird table today). These pictures have satisfied my cravings for avian fashion.

  17. i’d love to see more of this. i didn’t know about him.

  18. ambika says:

    Oh my gosh, the fabric…the prints, even in black and white, are killing me. Wow.

  19. sherley says:

    gorgeous dress, love the checked one

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