An amazing Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell dress

Today I thought I would share a little bit about one of the simply sensational items I currently have listed on ebay.

See all the items currently available on my ebay here



It is this WONDERFUL dress which features a Celia Birtwell print by Ossie Clark. The dress not only charts an important point in fashion history but has to be one of the most gloriously swishy numbers I have ever come across.

Ossie Clark was an intriguing fashion character if there ever was one. He met Celia Birtwell who would both become his parter in a romantic and creative sense at Manchester college of art in the late 1950s. From here he went onto study at the Royal College of art ( it always makes me feel pretty special to think I’m studying for my masters at the same institution as some of the great designers and practitioners of the 20th century).

His graduate show from RCA was what catapulted him to success. His work was spotted by Alice Pollock, who formed her eponymous boutique Quorum in 1964. From 1966 onwards she was buying designs from Ossie at £10 a batch. These early designs for Quorum were mostly relatively plain pieces in neutral shades made from chiffon.

This dress though features the Ossie Clark for Radley label,  so where did this come into the equation? Around about 1967  Quorum got into financial difficulty and was bailed out by Alf Radley, this led to Ossie starting to design for Radley too from 1968 onwards.


This amazing dress is so typical of Ossie garments though due to the print, this is one designed by Celia Birtwell and gives an idea of the date of the dress. The print is a version of Celia’s tartan hearts. This bouquet based print was first designed around 1972 and is a delicate repeat print rather than one of the large all over prints that Birtwell created. The date 1972 seems to fit in especially well as Birtwell suggests in her book that in this year Ossie and Celia were working alot with combinations of moss crepe and satin.


This piece came from Naomi Thompson’s collection (as did many of the pieces I am selling this week). You can see her wearing it here at the secret shopping sale earlier this year.

So, do you want to get your hands on a rare piece of fashion history?

You can on ebay now!
Just click here for the auction which ends on Sunday

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