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In this series of blog posts, Circa Vintage takes a deep dive into the history of some of our favourite fashion designers. Today, it's the turn of romantic British designer Bill Gibb.

A contemporary of Ossie Clark, Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki and Sandra Rhodes, Bill Gibb was crowned ‘Designer of the Year’ by Beatrix Miller of Vogue who selected one of his designs for Baccarat, a pleated tartan skirt and printed blouse worn with a Kaffe Fassett knitted waistcoat, as the 1970 'Dress of the Year'. From humble beginnings in the Scottish Highlands he attended Saint Martin’s School of Art, stating "I was brought up surrounded by cliffs, mountains and ruined castles. I used to draw romantic characters in costume."


After graduating top of his class, Gibb was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art but before completing his degree, he left to start up in business. He was one of six young designers invited to present their designs in New York, which led to a three-month research tour of the United States with his then boyfriend, the artist and textile designer Kaffe Fassett, who would remain a very close friend and design collaborator.

On his return to London, Gibb and a group of friends had co-founded the Alice Paul boutique, for which Gibb designed typically late 1960s outfits of miniskirts and long coats, whilst his friends handled the marketing and manufacture. Between 1969–1972, as a freelance designer, Gibb designed for the London fashion house Baccarat. In 1972 Gibb launched his own company, Bill Gibb Fashion Group, which ran until 1988 and in 1975 he opened his first shop in London, on Bond Street. That same year, Harrods opened a dedicated area for Gibb’s designs, calling it the “Bill Gibb Room”. Bill Gibb had a loyal client list including Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor, and friends including models Twiggy and Jan de Villeneuve.



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