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Introduction

Detail of ensemble 1969 Detail of coat 1970 Detail of trousersuit 1969 Photograph of Twiggy

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s Ossie Clark dressed the famous and fashionable in unabashed show-stoppers. His most productive period coincided with London's most magical, optimistic, rule-breaking decade. It was a decade in which fashion, photography, music and the cult of personality converged.

Ossie Clark was first recognised as a design talent at the age of 23 when British Vogue singled him out in their August 1965 issue. Throughout the next decade his designs represented the best of London fashion.

Since then, however, Clark's glamorous lifestyle and tragic death in 1996 have overshadowed his importance as a designer. This display is a reminder of his singular talent. It shows his facility with diverse materials, his impressive cutting skills and the extraordinarily productive collaboration between Clark and his wife, the textile designer Celia Birtwell.

Coat 1970

Coat 1970

For this coat Clark used 'Floating Daisy', one of Celia Birtwell's best known designs. A complementary grid pattern flatters the collar, cuffs and bodice. The coat's trim shape demonstrates the designer's skill at accentuating the female form.

Printed cotton velvet
Print by Celia Birtwell
Given by Mrs R. Jones
Museum no. T.98-2001

Ensemble 1969

Ensemble 1969

This was the 'Dress of the Year' at the Museum of Costume in Bath. The ensemble embodies three of Clark's favourite design elements: a Celia Birtwell print, trousers for women, and ruffles to break a garment's surface. Prudence Glynn wrote in The Times,'This outfit exemplifies the 1969 look at its most appealing and its most subtle'.

Printed chiffon top, satin trousers
Print by Celia Birtwell
Lent by the Museum of Costume, Bath

Trouser suit 1969

This suit's sharp tailoring contrasts with the romantic sheerness of the other trouser suit in this case, designed in the same year. The donor wore this suit at her wedding in the spring of 1969.

Printed satinised cotton
Print by Celia Birtwell
Given by Hilary Anne Milne
Museum no. T.472:1-2-1997

Photograph of Twiggy

Model Twiggy in a similar ensemble to the trouser suit shown above.

© Justin de Villeneuve