Another super 70s sale

OOOOH Hello and welcome to another week of super seventies items that I have for sale. I am just picking out a few highlights in this blog post but there are over 40 fabulous items available on ebay right now!
My fabric of the week seems to be moss crepe, I have numerous items available in this typically 70s fabric.




I have some stunningly elegant pieces on offer too…





Some of my pieces have a real 40s feel…



And I have a ton of Victoriana blouses…



P.S. The next sale will be lingerie (from antique to 80s!) this starts on the 12th May : )

Debenhams and Ossie "Clarke" (sic.) Or why my fashion blood is boiling

Today I’m writing a rather angry blog post. On Tuesday morning on twitter I spotted something that immediately sent alarm bells ringing “Debenhams to relaunch Ossie Clark”.
But why did this make me so angry?
Debenhams relaunch of the Ossie Clark “brand” has made irritated me on a number of levels. First, and I think the most heinous of all crimes, THEY COULDN’T EVEN SPELL HIS NAME CORRECTLY. The Debenhams press release  had his name spelt “Ossie Clarke” not just a single misspelling but throughout the press release. Not only this, but others, in writing about the relaunch since have also spelt his name incorrectly. The press release has a picture of the new label on it and STILL they couldn’t spell it correctly. This lazy slapdash nature already fills me with fear….
Secondly the suggestion of Ossie Clark as a “brand”, Ossie Clark was a person, and a designer, and therefore I resent him being reduced to a “brand”. Ossie Clark (in my humble opinion) was one of THE great designers of the late 20th century. A REAL designer, rather than a company. There is a difference here to re-launching labels where the original designer is still alive as permission can be granted, but this is an insult to Ossie, and something I feel sure he would not have accepted.
I decided to do a bit more digging into who this person was that currently owns the “Ossie Clark” name and found out who designer Alison Mansell was. She was in fact the designer of one of M & S’s most popular dresses of recent years (she is seen holding it in this pic). Alison is also the designer of Damsel in a dress (party frocks sold through John Lewis).
On her design aesthetic she stated, “she’s “obsessed” with reviving old prints and the world of detail and fastidiousness they evoke”.
This simple statement already gets me worried about what might be to come…

I just don’t understand how names can be purchased in this manner….maybe I just don’t “get” business, how can you buy a dead mans name??? I’m sorry it seems quite frankly disrespectful. It is not like Ossie Clark ever had a house in the manner of say Dior, where his “name” was kept going after his death. Ossie Clark was a different sort of designer hence why I am so against this…
Ossie Clark it is well known, was a terrible busineseeman, often giving away his clothes for free so using  his name to “cash in” really is so anti- Ossie it is untrue.

So far I have seen only two items from the 95 piece collection. One, A quite frankly hideous dress that appears on the Debenhams press release. The print design is poor to say the least and this is something that the designs are supposedly being sold upon….also this unbelievably poorly researched press release seems to suggest Ossie Clark was the print designer, NO!!! Celia Birtwell designed the prints, and it would be surprising (especially considering the crappy looking dress on the press release) if she had consented to be part of this project. There are more things I could say about this image. I just hate it on so many levels. The dress looks like some dodgy beach cover up in too thin (non Ossie) fabric, it’s worn with awful sandals and really in no way references Ossie in my mind.
The thing is Ossie relaunches have already SO been done. There was the Celia Birtwell for Topshop collection which I did like to a degree (quality was poor…though not horrendous and I do own a few pieces that I love). These used Celia’s prints but many of the shapes were copies of those originally designed by Ossie. In 2008 there was an attempt to relaunch the brand which was done pretty poorly and lasted only a few seasons. Why does Debenhams think their relaunch is going to be any different???
The Biba relaunch for House of Fraser in my opinion devalued the originals rather, I feel almost certain that this reluach will do the same for Ossie Clark and lead to YET MORE confusion between originals and later copies.
But the most important question, I feel, is WHY WHY WHY is this even necessary? Why can’t we have exciting new designs in the shops. Why do we have to re-hash past designs continuously? Where has design talent gone (as someone with a fashion degree this REALLY scares me)?  As consumers is this what we really want? In my opinion it’s like covering someone elses song, it just shows your own un-originality. Boring and dull.
I feel that some people may view this as me being a vintage snob (I know only too well I can be, there is no point in me denying it!), but in this case it is really not about me doing a “darling, if it’s not original don’t bother” it’s a case of  being against ruining the name of the one of the greatest design talents of the 20th century.
If you want to read it from another mind (who I think has put it better than I ever could, and knows her Ossie FAR better than I do), take a look at the always amazing blog by Liz Eggleston

This piece was quoted in this Daily Mail article:–fashion-experts-ardent-fans-agree.html

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