Ossie Clark’s Sons May Sue….

celia birtwell, Ms Peelpants' rants, ossie clark

My flatmate left this article out this morning for me, and I must admit that I punched the air a little bit. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful this all must be for them, it’s painful enough as a fan of the great man himself, to see your father’s memory being tainted and exploited by a tacky relaunch. I also read an article with Celia in the Independent where she skirted around the gross insult that this relaunch is with her trademark steely tact. Yet, in an article in the ES magazine (which oddly fell into my hands on the tube on Sunday night, and entertained me when I noticed the fallen frayed hem on one of the dresses in the background) the twosome spearheading this revival bleated on about how Celia had come around to the idea.

“Celia came along to meet Av and she was absolutely fine with it.”

Not the impression I got, that’s for sure. Especially in light of today’s news.

Anyway, to the collection itself. The snippets I have seen have proved to me that a substantial proportion of the collection is a poor remake of some of Ossie’s original designs. The yellow plunge neck which seems to be being used as the key image so far, more resembles one of his Model T Ford plunge necks with some of the neckline stitched up (you see them on ebay occasionally, courtesy of some very modest original owners). Like they designed with the big plunge in mind, but chickened out at the last minute (either that or poor cutting meant it didn’t sit properly on the body and modifications needed to be made).



Everything else? Yawn. Sorry, most of it looks like bog standard attempts at avant-garde-inspired-by-Ossie (like this puffball of a piece below). The designer is not, as some lackey who posted on my blog a while ago likes to insist, showing any independence of thought or proving to me that he is a creative and powerful new talent in the design world. He may well be, but how am I suppose to know that from all this bobbins?



Oh and that brings me to the prints. Now I know Celia couldn’t or wouldn’t be involved, and I’d have been just as aghast if they’d attempted to duplicate her work but…..seriously? Is this the best they could get? Smudgy, tie-dyed blobs in super dull and dreary colours? I don’t suppose I’d particularly notice the prints in any other collection but when it’s attempting to recreate the Ossie Clark magic, they really do draw the eye and then beat it with a big, dull stick.

I’m a cynic I know, and cynical folks out there will smirk and comment that I always set out to loathe this collection. They’d be right. But I’m also prepared to admit when I’ve been wrong. But this time, I wasn’t wrong. My instincts were all right. This wasn’t about the creation of new and beautiful works of art inspired by the legacy of Ossie. This wasn’t even the duplication-fest I thought it would be. It’s worse than that, it’s fallen between the two stools very, very hard on its bum.

Nice try, but no biscuit.

Price on request? Please! Spend your money on an original. They’ll be a lot cheaper, last a lot longer and you know what? Ossie Clark actually designed them.

2 thoughts on “Ossie Clark’s Sons May Sue….

  1. I found this whole collection and relaunch so upsetting, on so many levels. People keep trying to tell me how old labels get relauched all the time, blah blah blah, but I genuinely think that Ossie had something special that was part of a very special time- something that can’t be recreated or even rehashed…

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