1970 Ossie Clark 'Graduation' Front Plunge Dress in a Burgundy Moss Crepe
I have had black & ivory versions of this Ossie Clark for Radley dress in the shop before and was happy to find this one in its soft burgundy wine colour. This is one of Ossie's most famous and recognizable designs. Its twin in a black colour is held in the Victorian and Albert Museum. The caption on their dress reads: "This dress has the simple, flattering lines of a classic Ossie Clark design. Its flowing silhouette, waist-tie and deep décolletage suited women of most shapes and sizes. This style was very successful when the Radley label produced it. Radley made it in printed fabrics as well as a range of coloured crêpes." The history behind this label is fascinating. In 1968 Ossie Clark was designing his own couture line and also designing pieces for Alice Pollock for her Quorum Boutique. The Radley company approached Alice to find out of she could convince Ossie to design a top of the market collection that they would produce and sell to various boutiques and department stores. He said yes and dresses like this were the result of that collaboration. These early 'ready to wear' pieces were never produced in vast quantities making them a collectible and valued part of Ossie's history. I absolutely love this one.
The design of this dress is said to have been based loosely on a graduation gown and then he combined that with the flow and drape that he was known for. His signature sexuality that he worked into his pieces is displayed in that ultra low front plunge. That plunge deepens into a deep V that is cut right down to the seam at the empire waist. An attached tie wraps around and ties to give you some the shape and it keeps the plunge from moving. The skirt flows from under the front gathers set under the base of the neckline. At the back it falls from under the shoulder yoking. It cascades to the ground from there and is balanced by the wide cut sleeves. This dress is made from his signature moss crepe and this fabric has beautiful movement. It is also in its original supermodel length. I own one of these myself and it will always have a place in my own personal collection. I can tell you from personal experience that it is a dress that you will wear over and over and easily goes from day to night. I have included some past shots of me wearing my own black one so you can see how easy it is to wear. Great condition with a note below.
Unlined and slips over the head to wear with attached ties at the waist. Soft padding in each shoulder. There is a soft variation in colour throughout the dress. I wonder if it was re-dyed at some point as it does seem to be darker where the fabric is gathered or doubled. The hem has some scruffiness to it and there is some very minor pilling tot the inside of the sleeves and inner hem. A slight hint of over-pressing on the seem at the base of the yoke. This all gives the dress a slight intentional distressed feel that works. I have priced it lower then I have others in the past by quite a bit as it is perfectly wearable and actually looks great on because these are all minor. The flowing silhouette, waist tie and deep decolletage should work a variety of figures and sizes.
Shoulders: no true seam"
Bust: to 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 62" from neck to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-LRG
Reference Photos: (1) 1974-76 Ossie Clark Dress from the V&A Collection (2 & 3) Cherie, Owner of Shrimpton Couture, by Erin Leydon
This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.
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