Iconic 1972 Ossie Clark Couture Black Moss Crepe Wrapped Cuddly Dress w Bishop Sleeves
If you want to know the mindset in which Ossie Clark designed his clothes then this little story will explain everything... during a fitting, Ossie once told an 18 year old Marianne Faithfull to go back into the dressing room and take off her bra and knickers. ‘How do you expect me to go out like this?’, she asked him, and he replied, ‘You're meant to be able to lift your dress up at any time, and pull down the top, and just have sex.' .... That little story pretty much sums up the attitude of wearing an Ossie Clark. They are sensual, sexual and yet still utterly beautiful. He was a master cutter and his main line clothes were made at a Couture level. He could cut freehand and was one of the first designers to source clothing from the past to use as inspiration for his work and yet his designs were always uniquely his own. He was relentless in making the female body look as good as he could and did what it took to achieve that. He once told the Sunday Times ‘I don’t care how much anything costs as long as it is beautiful.’ The period of his work between 1965-1974 was pure fashion porn and in my opinion it will never be equaled as it perfectly summed up the spirit of the times.
Ossie named all of his couture dress and this one is known as the ‘Cuddly’. It was one of his best designs and the wrapped closure made it easy to fit. It is very well documented both then and now as a slew of famous women have worn one. I am pleased to have even sold one to Pink who wore a red version source from my archives for her 2019 music video 'Walk me Home'. Ossie's pieces were never produced in high quantities. In the book on his work written by Judith Watt there is a quote from Nicky Samuel who was a Haute Couture client of Yves Saint Laurent at the time and what she says sums up Ossie's place in fashion history perfectly as opposed to Saint Laurent's work; 'He was an artist, the best things he did were like a work of art; they are timeless. Saint Laurent never had to think about anything except designing dresses. He could create what he wanted. At Saint Laurent you could get everything in one place, 20 shirts from the rail to Haute Couture. It was a different set up from wonderful Ossie, where you'd hope that something would be made in three months by a couple of wonderful women who sewed for him.' I love that and it gives you more of a perspective of really how rare and special each dress that was made was.
The dress is made out of one of his signature black moss crepes. To wear it you simply slip it on and wrap it at the waist to tie. The front is cut in a low plunge and because of the way it is cut and the ties are set it stays very secure once on. At the back there is a large triangular cut out that leaves your full back bare. It is very sexy and instantly recognizable as being an Ossie. The huge bishop cut sleeves are puffed and full above the cuffs and this perfectly balances the sleek and simple feel of the cut around and across the shoulders. It wraps into place with long attached ties at the waist that wrap around you and tie to give you as much shape and definition as you wish. The skirt skims over the hips and then widens out to be quite full with yards of fabric in its construction. It cascades to the ground and there is a wonderful amount of volume that flows around you when you move. The wrap leaves a long overlapped slit at the front. When you stand still it falls and closes but when you move or sit you get a flash of leg and depending on how tight you tie out around the waist you can literally show the entire leg. These were a signature hallmark of this particular dress. I own one of these myself and it will always be in my collection and I can tell you from personal experience that it is a dress that you will wear over and over. It is the perfect dress for when you want to feel very sexy. It is in its original uncut length which is hard to find with many Ossie pieces you now see out there for sale. It looks to have been worn very little if at all. Excellent condition
Unlined and wraps to close and ties with the attached ties. It is labeled a vintage UK 10. One tie is a little shorter then the other but does not appear to have been altered. The wrap style should allow it to fit a variety of sizes.
Sleeves: 28" and meant to pouf up when on
Bust: adjustable to approx 20" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: adjustable to approx 15" flat across from side seam to side seam
Bodice: 16" from neck to top of band at the waist
Skirt: 44.5" from waist to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-MED
Reference Photo: (1) June Ritchie, in an Ossie Clark Cuddly dress, at a photo call for Gone With The Wind at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, 1972. / (2) Madeleine Hinde, in Ossie Clark, at the premiere of British horror film 'The Fiend' in London, April 7 1972. Photo by M. McCarthy. / (3-4) Suzanna Leigh, in Ossie Clark, by Allan Warren, 1973. / (5-6) Pink in Ossie Clark, from Shrimpton Couture, for her 'Walk Me Home' music video, 2019. See below for video.
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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