Extraordinary 1973 Ossie Clark & Celia Birtwell Documented Ivory Moss Crepe w Floral
This is an extraordinarily rare example of the work that Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell were doing together in the very early 1970s. This one has the added bonus of being one of Celia's very well documented prints. We found numerous examples of this print used in various pieces showing how integral it was to that seasons collection. Really great Ossie Clark pieces are becoming increasingly harder to find anymore and this one is amazing. 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. Dresses like this were the result of that collaboration. Even with this early version of 'ready to wear' the pieces that were made were still never produced in vast quantities and certainly nowhere near whet we think of today as RTW as far as quantities that would have been produced. This one with its ivory colour and pretty floral print might even make an amazing wedding dress for the bride looking for a non-traditional choice or as an alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration. And of course it could also be worn to any occasion. There is never a wrong time to wear Ossie.
The dress itself is also a stunning example of what would go on to become one of Ossie's most famous and recognizable designs with that signature squared off neckline and smock shape through the body. Various versions of these in solid colors are held several museums and I have had a couple in solids colours in the shop before.
His designs transform once on the body and no matter how fabulous the dress looks like in the shots it is even better on an actual body. The design of this dress reminds me of his classic 'graduation gown' in how it is loose and easy through the body but this version has a more filled in front then the plunging graduation dress design does. And it is also differentiated by the neckline that is edged with a panel on the same moss crepe fabric and that follows the front neckline. It has that incredible flow and drape that he was known for and it is so easy to wear. The neckline comes down and angles around its opening and then the dress falls from under that. It is set into the neckline with a series of flat pleats that open up at about the wast and fall freely to the floor. Attached ties on either side of the waist wraps around and tie to give you some the shape. The skirt flows from the front gathers under the neckline and at the back it begins right under the shoulder yoking with a long inverted pleat running down the center. It cascades to the ground and is balanced by the gorgeous sleeves. I love the capped shoulder on them with its nod to the previous century. The dress is made out of his signature moss crepe in a creamy ivory and then it has that incredible floral Celia Birtwell print running over its entire surface. It is incredibly long and in its original supermodel uncut length. It is a treasure. Excellent condition with a small note below
Unlined and slips over the head to wear. It is narrow through the shoulders but generous through the body. The attached ties can be used to cinch in for more shape. There are slight fold marks in the crook of each arm and very light marks in the body of the dress here and there. All minor and mentioned for accuracy. Please see the photos after the label shot. If you are narrow through the shoulders then a MED could fit it as well
Shoulders: no defined seam but probably around a 13-15" max
Bust: to 19" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: open and can be defined by the attached tie
Length: 60" from shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML
Reference Photos: (1-3) Models in Ossie Clark for Radley, 1973. / (4) Model in Ossie Clark, Cosmopolitan, December 1973. Photographed by Eva Sereny. / (5) Model on left in Ossie Clark, Telegraph Magazine, September 1973. Photographed by Brian Duffy.
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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