News & Scoops

2009 July 15

Another Relaunch Goes Bust

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(NEW YORK) British fashion brand Ossie Clark relaunched a year and a half ago, but today, the company announced today that it is shuttering. "Due to market conditions, developing the business has been challenging and the decision has been made to cease trading," a company spokesman said.

An iconic label of the Sixties and Seventies, the brand was purchased in November 2007 by Marc Worth, the founder of WGSN. Ossie Clark made its latest debut at the Serpentine Gallery during London Fashion Week in February 2008 under the design direction of Central Saint Martins graduate Avsh Alom Gur. Gur resigned in March to focus on his eponymous line.

Raymond "Ossie" Clark (June 9, 1942-August 6, 1996) was born in Oswaldshire, England. At age 16, he enrolled in the Salford School of Art in Manchester, where he met David Hockney and Celia Birtwell, who became a close friend and frequent collaborator. Clark then attended the Royal College of Art in London, where his 1965 graduation show earned much attention from magazines like British Vogue and retailers such as Alice Pollock's boutique Quorum, which counted Verushka, Marianne Faithfull, Mick and Bianca Jagger,  and Twiggy among its clients. Pollock suggested that Clark focus on the clothing while Birtwell design the prints; this collaboration was cemented when Birtwell and Clark married in 1969. The couple had two sons, Albert and George, before divorcing in 1974. During this period, Clark outfitted London's chic set and outfitted everyone from rock stars like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles to fashion icons such as Talitha Getty.

Clark was declared bankrupt in 1981, which essentially forced his retirement. In 1996, Clark was stabbed to death at his home in a public housing project in West London. His 28-year-old former companion, Diego Cogolato, was arrested and charged with murder; he served a 6-year term with a manslaughter conviction.

Birtwell taught at several universities in England before opened her own shop in Notting Hill in 1996. She dipped her toe back into the fashion world with a 2006 capsule collection for Topshop. In 2008, she launched a line of home decor that is available in the United States at the Suzan Fellman Showroom in Los Angeles.

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