In an eye-opening interview with the iconic designer and creator of the heritage 60’s fashion label BIBA, Barbara Hulanicki talked briefly about her friendship and his love of her make up range with the late Freddie Mercury.

Speaking about her cosmetic range Barbara said, “…that attracted some very special customers too including Freddie Mercury who loved our make-up. He was also the boyfriend of Mary Austin (a store Manager at BIBA and the ‘girlfriend’ of Freddie Mercury who was left the majority of his estate when he died in 1991).

“However one day I came across a very distraught Mary crying her eyes out and when I asked what the matter was, she told me that Freddie didn’t know if he was going to be gay or straight.”

Freddie Mercury died in Kensington, from Bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS in 1991.

Among other highlights Barbara is also famed for giving Anna Wintour her start in fashion.

TGUK: And did the future Grand Dame of Vogue Anna Wintour really start her career as your Saturday girl?

BH: Yes.

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TGUK: So you taught her all she knows? (laughs) And do you think that Ms. Wintour has this first job down on her resume?

BH: No comment.

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TGUK: Well if you are going to be tactful about this, can you agree that she may have copied her signature habit of wearing oversized glasses from you?
(Roars laughing)
Read the full interview with Barbara Hulanicki in issue 9 of TheGayUK available on
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