Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ossie Reborn

"Three names defined 60s fashion in Britain: Mary Quant, Biba and the boutique Quorum owned by Alice Pollock, which sold the work of Clark and his wife and partner, the pattern-designer Celia Birtwell. You could not be young and alive in the late 60s and early 70s without wearing something that had its origins in the brain and fingers of Ossie Clark, his 30s and 40s-style chiffon dresses, often cut on the bias, in Birtwell's beautiful prints."

Ossie Clark had a brief but transcendent career, with designs that spanned Twiggy-mod to Topanga romantic. His first outfits, for Quorum, defined the Carnaby Street dolly bird look. By the tail end of the sixties, Clark had found his niche, sewing longer, floating designs of Birtwell's fanciful prints. At a time when the bulky maxi silhouette prevailed, Clark's dresses had drape, drugs, and movement. He, more than most, perfectly distilled the era's stylistic polyglotism, fusing Edwardian elements with futuristic ones and ethnic outlines with rock glam.

The Ossie Clark label is on the brink of a comeback under hot designer Avsh Alom Gur, whose own creations are as full of cultural implication as Clark's once were. Gur needn't have been part of the sixties to remember them; his recent work indicates that he is no stranger to the zeitgeist of caprice. Under Gur's direction, a candid reassessment of Clark's styling should not only be possible, but providential.

Link: The man who could do everything

Image sources: Vintageclothes. eu, V & A

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