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Ossie Clark

British, 1942-1996

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that neither the Swinging Sixties nor the hippie looks of the 1970s would have been what they were if not for Ossie Clark, who popularized the flamboyant fashion synonymous with the eras.

Born Raymond Clark in 1942, the designer moved as a boy to Oswaldtwistle, the source of his lifelong nickname. Clark began studies in architecture at just 13, a foundation that instilled in him the lessons of proportion and scale that would inform his day dresses, suits and other unique clothing decades later.

After learning tailoring, pattern cutting and more important technical skills at the Regional College of Art in Manchester (now the Manchester School of Art), Clark attended London’s prestigious Royal College of Art. There, he began a lifelong friendship with the artist David Hockney, who would eventually paint a portrait of Clark and his wife and partner, Celia Birtwell, also a designer.

Clark’s graduation show in 1964, featuring at least one garment decorated with a line of light bulbs, made instant waves in the fashion world, foreshadowing the career he would have as a boundary-pushing creative. He landed his first feature in British Vogue just months later and was a veritable instant addition to the London fashion scene. While he was still a student, Clark’s designs were being sold in the famous London boutique Quorum, and Henri Bendel had brought his collection to New York. His fashions soon became inextricably linked with the famous “Chelsea Girls” of the decade.

Clark’s clothing ran the gamut from free-flowing garments in muted hues to graphic patterns in bold colors informed by a fascination with Pop art and flora. He collaborated with Birtwell for most of his career, incorporating her dynamic Art Deco–inspired prints in his work before the couple parted in the 1970s. Clark favored crepes and chiffons and paid close attention to small details, often eschewing simple zippers in favor of, say, fabric-covered buttons. At the end of the 1960s, Clark adjusted hemlines to the maxi length and introduced a line of chiffon dresses intended to be worn over a nude body.

Clark’s penchant for flowing pants, bell sleeves and fringe is largely regarded as popularizing the archetype of 1970s fashion in London and the United States — influence bolstered, no doubt, by his dressing such A-list clients as Mick Jagger, Liza Minelli and The Beatles. A gifted draper, he was known for his uniquely flattering fits. As footwear icon Manolo Blahnik once said, “He created an incredible magic with the body and achieved what fashion should do — produce desire.”

Find vintage Ossie Clark evening dresses, blouses, day dresses and more on 1stDibs.

1970's OSSIE CLARK dress with CELIA BIRTWELL print
By Ossie Clark for Radley, Ossie Clark
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Very rare, tiered dress made of Celia Birtwell printed fabric designed by Ossie Clark dating to the 1970's. Dress features puff sleeves, a low cut neckline with button closure, an em...
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1970s British Ossie Clark

1970's OSSIE CLARK dress with CELIA BIRTWELL print
By Ossie Clark, Ossie Clark for Radley
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Very rare, tiered dress made of contrasting Celia Birtwell printed fabric designed by Ossie Clark dating to the 1970's. Dress features puff sleeves and a cut out at neckline with a t...
Category

1970s British Ossie Clark

Ossie Clark vintage 1970’s Floral Swing Dress
By Ossie Clark
Located in London, GB
We are very excited to present this Ossie Clark 1970’s long sleeve swing dress. Features floral pattern, tie neck, wide silhouette with long sleeves and midi length. Print by Celia B...
Category

1970s British Ossie Clark

Vintage Ossie Clark 1970’s Sleeveless Floral Layered Dress
By Ossie Clark
Located in London, GB
Ossie Clark 1970’s sleeveless ruffled dress. Features floral pattern, v-neckline, ruffled layers, waist fabric belt and midi length. In excellent vintage condition. Brand: Ossie Clar...
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1970s English Ossie Clark

Ossie Clark Vintage 1969 Britwell Satin Trousers
By Ossie Clark
Located in London, GB
We are excited to present this iconic Ossie Clark 1969 satin floral print trousers. Features a high waist and wide leg silhouette, beige with black and brown floral print, zip front...
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1960s British Ossie Clark

1968 OSSIE CLARK black moss crepe dress with keyhole neckline ruffles & red trim
By Ossie Clark for Radley, Ossie Clark
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Jet-black, moss crepe, maxi dress with cut-out shoulders keyhole neckline, ruffles and red satin trim designed by Ossie Clark for Radley dating to 1968. Dress size is not marked, alt...
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1960s British Ossie Clark

Ossie Clark For Radley Pink Crepe Maxi Dress With Keyhole Neckline
By Ossie Clark
Located in Studio City, CA
1970's Ossie Clark for Radley pink moss crepe maxi dress featuring a wrap skirt with extra long waist ties, a collared neckline with keyhole opening detail, fabric-covered buttons an...
Category

1970s English Ossie Clark

1970's OSSIE CLARK For QUORUM black bias-cut maxi gown with low back
By Ossie Clark
Located in San Fransisco, CA
Jet-black, moss crepe, bias-cut maxi gown with deep-V front and back from Ossie Clark for Quorum as seen on Thandie Newton for the "Mission Impossible 2" Premiere. Beautiful, decorat...
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1970s British Ossie Clark

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Ossie Clark fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Ossie Clark fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of pink, blue, purple and other tones. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Jean Varon, Frank Usher, and Janice Wainwright appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Ossie Clark fashion from top boutiques around the world. Ossie Clark fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $1,200 and tops out at $6,678, while the average work can sell for $2,256.

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