This striking black, ivory and mauve rayon dress demonstrates the success of Ossie Clark's collaboration with his wife, the textile designer Celia Birtwell. An expert cutter, Ossie Clark designed his patterns to complement the printed textiles he used in his clothes. In this mini-dress, flat black crÍpe provides the perfect backdrop for Birtwell's lively, stylised floral print. In the dress illustrated below also from about 1970, two contrasting but related printed wools provide a striking outfit, also designed by Birtwell.
Born in Warrington, Ossie Clark (1942-96) studied fashion at London's Royal College of Art from 1962 to 1964, joining the design team at the Quorum boutique in London's Chelsea when he left. He rapidly achieved national recognition after his work appeared in British Vogue in 1965. His use of transparent chiffons and clingy crÍpes produced unique, ultra-feminine designs for the "Swinging London" of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ossie Clark can now be recognized as one of the most important British designers of the later 20th century, a favourite of personalities like Marianne Faithfull, David Hockney, and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, as well as of countless less celebrated clients.
Full item descriptions:
"mini dress" [1997.8], Clark, Ossie, Birtwell, Celia
"dress" [2003.173], Clark, Ossie, Birtwell, Celia