|Dress designed by Bill Gibb for his 1976/1977 Winter collection|
The dress was labelled Bill Gibb and I had to find out more about it.It is in fact, not a dress, but an ensemble made up of a skirt, tabard, and kaftan. The eclectic and contrasting layers make it a completely unique piece, and almost like a Sari. The kaftan has a large bee printed on it, as the bee was a marker of Gibb’s work, and often appeared on the buttons of his dresses.
Alongside the bee are multi-coloured pansies printed underneath a layer of sheer sequins. The dress was created for Bill Gibb’s 1976/1977 Winter collection and was first shown in the spring on that year. It was previously displayed at Lotherton Hall (which is currently developing an exciting new area dedicated to its fashion and textile collection) and is stained with lipstick and makeup from its debut catwalk show, which I believe adds more character.
Who was Bill Gibb?
Bill Gibb was from Fraserburgh, Scotland. At an early age he showed a great aptitude for art and was encouraged to study it by his teachers. He later moved to London, where he studied at Saint Martins and finished first in his class, and after graduating he was taught by Janey Ironside at the Royal College of Art.
He designed clothes for Baccarat, and in 1970 one of his designs for Baccarat was named dress of the year by British Vogue. There was even a room dedicated solely to his work in Harrods department store. After establishing his own brand Bill Gibb Ltd in 1972 alongside his partner Kaffe Fassett and business partner Kate Franklin his work became eponymous with the British Boutique Movement, which also included designers such as Ossie Clark and Jean Muir.
Although the Pre-Raphaelite and Bohemian styles were popular with other designers of the seventies his work stood out due to his Eastern and Celtic influences, and outlandish prints. In 1971 he dressed Twiggy for the premiere of Ken Russell’s film The Boyfriend, which soared him to fame. His designs were also very popular with Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1974 he launched a knitwear collection, and in 1975 opened up a shop.
However, his legacy lives on as his clothes have inspired the works of contemporary designers such as John Galliano and Giles Deacon.