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Bill Gibb: A Personal Journey

Start Date 17 October 2008
End Date October 2009
Venue The Fashion Museum
Location Bath, England
Curator Iain R. Webb and Rosemary Harden

A display of show stopping ensembles by 1970’s fashion designer Bill Gibb and chosen by fashion journalist Iain R Webb features in a new exhibition at the Fashion Museum, Bath.

The fashion museum has an important collection of wonderful outfits designed by Bill Gibb, a much loved yet, strangely, little-recognized British fashion designer.

Iain R Webb spent 12 months working with the Fashion Museum Manager, Rosemary Harden to put together the display of 25 ensembles.

“Gibb has become one of British Fashion’s forgotten stars,” said Iain, “and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to show the designer in all his glory and record the talent that has for the most part gone uncelebrated by the fashion industry.”

One of the most stunning pieces in the exhibition is a leather panelled skirt printed with silver chrysanthemum flowers – worn with a matching jacket – from Gibbs’ first solo collection shown at the Oriental Club in 1972.

The panelled skirt appeared in a dramatic Vogue contemporary photograph taken by Clive Arrowsmith and the image is used on the front of the cover of the Bill Gibb monograph, Fashion and Fantasy.

“The seeds of my journey were planted in the early 1970’s when Bill Gibb was charming the world with his unique brand of fashion,” added Iain. “As a teenager I swooned over the photographs of his designs featured in Vogue magazine and was inspired to follow his lead and study fashion design at St Martins School of Art, the very same course that that Gibb himself had taken years earlier.

“Growing up in the rural wilds of Wiltshire, surrounded by myriad siblings, I identified with the designer and dreamt that one day I might be part of his glamorous world.”

Rosemary Harden, Fashion Museum Manager, commented: “One of the things we’re trying to do here at the Fashion Museum in Bath is to showcase the work of British fashion designers whose names aren’t necessarily that well known, but whose contribution to British fashion has been significant.

“It is therefore fantastic to have the opportunity to work with Iain to create this display of the work of Bill Gibb, a truly unsung hero of British fashion. This follows on from the Fashion Museum’s John Bates Fashion Designer exhibition in 2006.

“We hope that all the visitors who enjoyed that show will return to the Fashion Museum to discover the work of Bill Gibb in the new display.”

The Fashion Museum is open daily from 10.30am to 5pm, exit 6pm March to October, and 10.30am to 4pm, exit 5pm November to February.