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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ossie Clark revival

Ossie Clark, the eponymous British fashion house may soon find its way back to your wardrobe. And not just vintage pieces from its seventies heyday. Ossie Clark was one of Britain's most successful brands, defining the Swinging Sixties along with designers such as Biba and Mary Quaint. He is also known to be a great inspiration for many fashion designers, including Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford. Ossie Clark and Ossie Clark for Radley clothes are highly sought after, and are still worn by models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

Now the brand is set to be revived by entrepreneur Mark Worth, founder of online fashion service WGSN, much in the same way as The Weinstein Co. in the U.S. is seeking to relaunch another iconic brand from the Seventies, Halston.

Worth believes the Ossie Clark name still possesses magic. "I thought it would be a fun and exciting project," Worth is quoted in WWD. "The main reason why British designers don't succeed today is simple — finance. I've been in the clothing business for 30 years, and I thought this would be an ideal way of giving something back to the British fashion industry."

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s Ossie Clark dressed the famous and fashionable in unabashed show-stoppers. His most productive period coincided with London's most magical, optimistic, rule-breaking decade. It was a decade in which fashion, photography, music and the cult of personality converged. Clark offered his clients a fresh alternative to staid, traditional couture and reinforcing the city's position as a leading fashion centre. He was as much an explorer as he was a designer, discovering new shapes, silhouettes and textures. The same imagination that designed the midi- as well as the maxiskirt also composed romantic gowns of gauzy chiffon. Trousers for women, still forbidden at the grand hotels, were transformed into fashion essentials.

Like other designers of the period, Ossie Clark used an extraordinary range of surface decoration - embroidery, appliques, beads and lacing. But beyond the typical enthusiasms of 1960s dressing, Clark welcomed the challenge of working with unusual materials such as snakeskin. In addition, he fearlessly mixed different prints in the same garment and branched out to design a limited but popular range of menswear.

At the height of his fame, Clark was friends with Cecil Beaton, Jimi Hendrix, Marianne Faithfull, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Marie Helvin and Elizabeth Taylor. Even after his death, he continued to attract a fashionable fan base. In 2003, London's Victoria and Albert Museum held a mini retrospective of his work and guests at the launch party included Kate Moss, Manolo Blahnik, Zandra Rhodes and Hockney. The brand will launch with its Autumn Winter 2008 collection at London Fashion Week next February and consist of capsule collection of 30 pieces. According to WWD, the manufacturing will be done in Italy, the U.K. and China.

Clark's demise began in the early 80s, when the punk movement was at its peak. Vivienne Westwood became the doyenne of the King's Road and Clark's romantic flowing gowns were no longer in fashion. His fortunes declined and Clark went bankrupt and largely stopped working.
in 1996 Clark was murdered by his former lover Diego Cogolato, who was subsequently sentenced to prison for six years.

Ossie Clark revival


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