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Any vintage experts out there? Wondering if my Biba dress is genuine old...

(33 Posts)
herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:04:18

Hello there

In a bring-and-buy sale on Monday, I happened upon a pearl lamé dress. With a Biba label. I only paid a few quid for it, and am now wondering if it's modern Biba, or vintage. Googling has proved fruitless - it's not for sale at the moment (modern Biba seems to now only be sold through House of Fraser) but nor is it featured on any vintage clothing sites.

Its label is gold, with black printing, and it has the original tags, which are black with gold on.

I'm pretty sure it's not totally modern. The zip is old-fashioned, it's lined with silk, whereas today's Biba seems to be totally polyester, and its belt is fastened with hooks and eyes, which seems a bit old school.

I realise I could take it to a vintage clothes shop, but fear being ripped off!

OneLittleLady Wed 28-Jan-15 10:16:41

modern biba labels are black with gold writing so that would suggest it's not a recently sold dress unless it could have been a limited edition one? I know about the modern labels as I have several dresses bought from house of fraser and every label i've seen in the last few years is as i describe

herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:20:27

It's tag calls it the 'Bette' dress, that doesn't come up in Google searches. Maybe it was limited edition... It's amazingly well-made, making me think it's something a little bit special.

OneLittleLady Wed 28-Jan-15 10:24:13

ive had a quick google and the only bette that comes up connected to biba is a bed linen set!

It might be worth taking some pictures and finding a vintage forum and asking for advice if you are unsure of going to a shop? there must be someone out there who knows something about it

Orangeanddemons Wed 28-Jan-15 10:28:38

It sounds vintage to me. What's the styling like? Are you sure it's pure silk for the lining? And can you expand on the old fashioned zip a bit?

Ujjayi Wed 28-Jan-15 10:35:40

When you say "old fashioned zip" do you mean a metal zip?

The hooks & eyes on the belt definitely sound like a vintage feature. However, it is possible that someone has altered the original dress and created a belt from the excess fabric, mimicking vintage methods. Looking at the dress OP does that seem like a possibility?

Does the label definitely state silk lining? Some synthetics are very close to the real thing and non-static poly lining is not unusual in high-end high street clothing. Conversely, silk can get quite static-y which surprises most people as they think this doesn't happen with natural fibres.

herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:43:43

The label says that the lining is silk. And it's stitched really neatly to the hem, which is generous.

The zip isn't metal, but very neatly sewn into the dress, with a small dangly pull. Just reminds me of the sort of zip we'd have in the 70s!

Though the label looks modern. Has European sizes on it too, which seems newish. I've just taken some photos, so will post in my next post.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 28-Jan-15 10:46:53

A pic of the zip and label will say for sure.

If you're selling it you might raise a pretty penny - Liberty buys vintage and there's some high end vintage shops in London you could send photos to - you might get 400 quid

KatherinaMinola Wed 28-Jan-15 10:47:02

What's the sizing like? That's usually a sure fire way to tell. I have a vintage size 10 dress that fits me like a glove - I normally have a bit of room to spare in a modern size 6...

herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:48:12

Here are pics of some relevant details!

herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:50:09

I think it must be modern-ish, as it's a size 8, yet not utterly minute. I couldn't get into it though, sadly.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 28-Jan-15 10:51:09

Is that a plastic tag on a ribbon hanging down from the label?

Looks modern to me

herbaceous Wed 28-Jan-15 10:52:20

It is plastic, yes...

KatherinaMinola Wed 28-Jan-15 10:52:52

Wow, that's beautiful. I see what you mean about the finish looking vintage (v well-made) but from the label I'd say it's modern - also, size 8 was very hard to find in the 70s - size 10 the smallest size then really.

But a wonderful find nevertheless! Does it fit you?

KatherinaMinola Wed 28-Jan-15 10:53:41

I think those plastic beads on labels are a very recent thing - but I'm not an expert at all.

motherinferior Wed 28-Jan-15 10:54:11

Ah. Yes. I was going to mention this: I think it's probably the remake, which isn't part of the old Biba line.

KatherinaMinola Wed 28-Jan-15 10:54:29

I see it doesn't fit you - what a pity! But I'm sure you'll sell it on.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 28-Jan-15 10:55:17

Yes, it's modern with the plastic tag. have the whole range smile

Twinklestein Wed 28-Jan-15 10:56:48

I love it. The tag implies it's contemporary.

Orangeanddemons Wed 28-Jan-15 10:56:49

If it was original Biba it wouldn't have the European sizing on. Sorry. It looks like a modern dress from 4 or 5 years ago. Those sleeves were around then

sansucre Wed 28-Jan-15 10:59:14

Due to the fact it's made in Portugal and the plastic/cotton tag, I think it's probably from the period when Bella Freud was designing for Biba, so mid 2000s. It's definitely not modern day Biba as the quality is too good but it's not vintage from Biba's heyday.

It's a pretty dress either way. Enjoy it!

sansucre Wed 28-Jan-15 11:01:21

In fact jackpot! I just googled imaged Bella Freud Biba and the dress came up!

Fullpleatherjacket Wed 28-Jan-15 11:02:40

Was going to say the same about the European sizing. That wouldn't have been standard in the 60's/70's. It is nevertheless very beautiful.

I'm sure it will sell well smile

sansucre Wed 28-Jan-15 11:02:55

Bella Freud for Biba

KatherinaMinola Wed 28-Jan-15 11:06:09

Well done sansucre - AW07/08 then. Looks fab on the model! Colour wouldn't be right on me otherwise I'd be tempted!

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