It is one of the fashion world’s most anticipated collections, and today sees the release of a rebranded Ossie Clark London Debut Collection. Early signs are that this colourful collection will please most style pundits, as the design and prints of the collection do not stray far from Ossie Clark’s original iconic look.
The designer, who passed away back in 1996, left a huge legacy which was loved by many stars including Marianne Faithful, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Twiggy, Liza Minnelli and The Beatles. Indeed, his daring prints and fluid cuts became synonymous with the times and his vintages clothes are now highly sought after, with models hanging on to pieces and carefully preserving any items they may have been lucky enough to procure in their collections.
Since Monday January 14, a new collection has been promoted which focuses on Ossies love for colour and print and the designers new creative director, Nicolas Georgiou, was given access to the Seventies designer’s rich archives, from back catalogues to original patterns and sketches. You can view the new line, which goes on sale today at ossieclarklondon.co.uk.
“These sources inspired me to learn about the shape, cut and fabrication used on the original designs,” said Georgiou. “The new range will have all the necessities of on-trend fashion but keeping with the DNA of Ossie Clark. It’s going to be accessible to everyone who loves fashion, bringing them something genuinely unique with beautiful fabrics, a fabulously rich heritage and a wealth of design.”
Giorgiou set about incorporating comfortable contemporary fabrics and digital printing techniques with Clark’s signature styles. The famous spiral-cut maxi dress (which is currently on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum), has inspired a new version, as has the maxi moss crepe dress, which has been created in a sleeker shape – with a higher neckline and less billowing sleeves.
“It is modern, feminine and romantic, as was the original Ossie Clark,” explained Giorgiou. “However, it is not an exact homage to the late brand or a complete replication of the original vintage styles – that would defeat the object of a successful modern-day business. By looking at the key shapes and utilising the lines, drape and gathers of the original sketches, I feel Ossie Clark London has created the look of where the label might have been if it had continued to trade today.”
With sizes from 8 to 18 and prices between £49 and £189, the label has been reinvented with a democratic ethos in mind. The collection will sit alongside Debenhams’ current stable of designer collaborators, including Preen, Jonathan Saunders and Marios Schwab.
“The concept behind this was to rebuild a beautiful label, made available to the masses,” said Giorgiou. “Ossie Clark did the same thing himself back in the Sixties and Seventies, when he launched Ossie Clark for Radley, making London style available to thousands by bringing his signature couture look to the high street. The current worldwide economic market is tough and fashion need not be safe or predictable to be affordable.”
However, there are some in the fashion industry that are not happy with this latest collection, and do not believe that an Ossie Clark range would be complete without sidekick and fellow designer Celia Birtwell, who was instrumental in all of Ossie’s work. And first impressions and feedback from social media do not only agree with this, but bemoan the cheapness and ‘naff’ materials the clothes are made of, in an effort to keep them affordable.
One fashionista commented that she had spent many years in the vintage clothing industry and that the beauty of Ossie Clark was the cut of his clothing, and whoever was designing this collection did not have a clue. Another commented that she was surprised that the clothes had not sold our but when she saw that many of them were made from nylon she realised why. Another said that Ossie Clark himself would be disappointed.