Not Just A Label – Ossie Clark

Ossie clark and celia Ossie clark man Ossie clark outfitOssie Clark was one of the most influential designers of the 60s and 70s, a master cutter, acclaimed designer and innovator. Together with his wife and collaborator Celia Birtwell, he captured perfectly the bohemian spirit of the sixties.

He was born Raymond Clark, 9th June 1942, in Liverpool, his talent emerged from a young age, designing and making clothes throughout his early school life. At 18 he attended the Regional College of Art in Manchester; here he met Celia Birtwell his future creative soul mate, and good friend David Hockney. In 1962 he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, three years later he graduated with a First Class Honours degree. His graduation collection earned him recognition from Vogue and a feature, photographed by David Bailey, launching his career.

He began working with Alice Pollock in 1966, for her boutique Quorum, famed for its celebrity clients, and later with the manufacturing house Radley, where his designs became more affordable and accessible. During this time he established himself as a legend within the fashion world, recognised for his retro floating dresses, shapes that clung subtly and sensuously to the body, painstaking workmanship and loud bold contrasting prints. In the late 1970s Clark and Pollock’s partnership ended and he stopped designing for Radley. The attempts post 1980 to revive his career were sadly unsuccessful. Ossie continued to struggle financially and creatively until his untimely death in 1996, when he was stabbed to death at 54 by his 28 year old former lover, Diego Cogolato, at Ossie’s council flat in Kensington & Chelsea. Cogolato was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and jailed for 6 years.

His client list has always been impressive, including names such as John Lennon, Twiggy, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and more recently Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Nicole Scherzinger. His vintage pieces are still highly sought after by collectors and worn by fashion aficionados today,(incidentally his label was relaunched under new ownership and design-ship in 2013). He has left behind a legacy; his undeniable talent is still celebrated and emulated today.

Shop Ossie Clark in our collection, Flamenco Style Ossie Dress & Black Moss Crepe Ossie Dress