Style Icons: Male »Ossie Clark

ossie clarkOssie Clark's woman, Celia Birtwell made my list eons ago, but it's Clark's time to shine this week. He, at age 23 began a career as one of the most influential and important British designers of the 60's and 70's.

He made show stopping pieces, not intended for wall flowers, but for big personalities like the famous people he often dressed. Mick Jagger was a client and wore Clark's daring bodysuits on his 1973 tour.

It's his fearless mixing of bold patterns (designed by Birtwell) and the terribly sexy and flattering cuts that get me an a tizzy though. I seriously am just waiting for the day I can own one of his pieces. Unlike many of my favorite vintage designers, his stuff is hard to get a hold of and pricey if you can.

He defied conventions with not only his collections, but the way they were displayed. He found the normal catwalk to be dull and his shows were always theatrical and exciting. One show in 1971, with a programme designed by David Hockney, was according to Suzy Menkes, “the most extraordinary moment in fashion history”. In another moment in fashion history, he, for the first time featured black models in his shows.

Ossie and Celia's long love affair produced some of the most amazing clothes ever, stuff I find particularly inspiring right now, but his hedonistic ways eventually lead to the end of their union. Later it also lead to his tragic murder by a crazed former lover named Diego Cogolato.

It would be a shame however, to let a gruesome and sensationalistic ending overshadow his enormous talent.

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Posted on March 24, 2008

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