Look at summer through new eyes. Ossie Clark sees you in shepherdess smocks of voile, in long crepe dresses, reed-thin red or printed by Celia Birtwell. Pattie Boyd looks at it her way. All at Quorum.
Photographed by David Bailey.
Scanned from Vogue, June 1969.
I think this editorial might be one of the first I ever scanned, back in even my pre-blog days. I may have posted it on MySpace (don’t judge me, I feel ancient enough as it is). I’ve been meaning to properly rescan for years, but finally the time seemed right. It is the perfect combination of designer, model, photographer and a stunning use of Pre-Raphaelite imagery.
There was dancing in the aisles when Ossie Clark showed his autumn ’74 collection at the Chelsea Theatre where “The Rocky Horror Show” is drawing the crowds. Pattie Harrison was one of the models. Marianne Faithfull made a finale appearance.
At last we’ve reached the bottom – the latest erogenous zone to be limelighted by shiny shorts, skin-tight jumpsuits and all kinds of sexy bum-huggers.
Interesting to note the dual pricing as the UK adjusted to decimalisation, and also that the Radley outfit in the photo below is actually an Ossie Clark design (I’ve seen it pop up with the Ossie for Radley label) but wasn’t properly credited as such.
. . . or how to wear furs this winter without hurting your pet’s feelings.
There is nothing, absolute nothing quite like wrapping yourself in fur. As a sensuous experience, it is in the same class as a new love, old champagne or fresh truffles. But even the most hedonistic of women are relieved that the threatened species are no longer imported. Snow leopards, tigers and other cats can go their own way and sensibly sybaritic female will look for furs that are farmed, such as fox and mink. This winter, too, the fakes are so wayout and wildly coloured that only a girl without a heart could resist their charms, albeit synthetic. Perhaps that’s why the fur trade have taken the hint and dipped their favourite fox pelts in the dye pot, Furrier Maxwell Croft offers his explanation of the female urge to wear and the male urge to bestow furs: “For many men it is a primitive desire to see his woman in furs.”. Very nice,too.
Plenty to scoff at the end of the copy there, but oh goodness the clothes – the clothes! And the glorious photography of Alice Springs, whose work doesn’t turn up nearly enough for my liking.
OSSIE CLARK, twenty-nine, designs clothes that would be right up the street for the woman whose profession is the oldest in the world. There’s nothing Woman’s Lib. here, thank you. His twelfth collection is outlandishly, gloriously and candidly tarty. But tarty in the ’40s and early ’50s sense of dressing: brazen, glamorous, passion-ately female. The cut of the clothes is masterful. The old black magic is there. Jazzy sequins. Star insets. High wedge heels. Ankle straps. Bias cut crepe. Oodles of pleats. Blowsy tulips and full-blown poppy prints. Plus black, and lots of it. You name it—it’s there, superbly executed.
Fabrics include new prints on marocain by Ossie’s wife, Celia Birtwell. Hairdos evoke memories of Rita Hayworth & Co. And contours are as they should be: breasts (bra-less), waists, hips and bottoms are all back in their rightful place — and proud of it. Ossie’s new clothes are as scarlet womanish as they are beautiful and witty. When you wear them you automatically adopt a Monroe wiggle.
Top price for a frock from his collection is £150, but around a fiver will buy you a printed crepe shirt. You may not be able to take this look seriously — but it will probably influence the way you dress next season. For Ossie’s secret as a designer is that his tarty vamps keep chic and never look cheap, jaded, or just plain common.
Photographed here are a selection of Ossie’s new clothes.
All enquiries for stockists and prices to Quorum Wholesale, 6 Burnsall Street, SW3.
Modelled by Kari-Ann Muller.
Hair by Richard at Maximillian.
Shoes by Manolo Blahnik for Zapata, 49 Old Church Street, SW3, from £17.75.
A curious but beautifully shot advertorial from a copy of Cosmopolitan, which I think is meant to be advertising the drink but is also rather a charming portrayal of a bohemian Seventies wedding. Unsurprising given that Jim Lee is behind the photographs, and also featuring a couple of Ossie Clark dresses, which I’m always happy to document.
Photographed by Jim Lee and Arthur Hill for Blanc Foussy by Grants of St James’s.
One of the nicest things about a summer holiday or a lazy weekend is not having to do anything—not even get dressed. With a handful of this summer’s prettiest lingerie you can breeze through a day of sunning or swimming. And then dress up for evening in a ravishing nightgown.
A 19 SPECIAL PREVIEW OF AN EXCITING DESIGNER’S COLLECTION
Sheridan Barnett, pictured above, is the young designer who gave Coopers such a good look and who has now joined the Quorum label, with Ossie Clark and Alice Pollock. At twenty-six, he has established himself as the most exciting designer in London, with a fabulous first collection for Quorum that left them clapping in the aisles. Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion bible of America, devoted an entire double-page spread to his collection, previously unheard of for an English designer. He designs with his girlfriend, a ballet dancer, in mind, and ladies like Grace Coddington, model Eija and Liza Minnelli: “Girls who are individual and chic, interesting, attractive and with oomph . .” and likes them to look alluring, classy and sexy. At the moment, his clothes are expensive but we are hopeful that, later on, they will be available in the cheaper Radley range as Ossie Clark’s clothes are. Meanwhile look out for similar lines.
My slightly belated tribute to the great Sheridan Barnett, who died in November. He is one of those many British designers of the time whose work doesn’t really get the attention he deserves; as you can see here his tailoring was exquisite.