Wonderful 1971 Ossie Clark Moss Crepe Dress w Celia Birtwell Moon & Star Embroidery
This is an extraordinarily rare example of the work that Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell were doing together in the very early 1970s. What makes this dress unusual is that it features one of Celia's prints but the print has been embroidered onto the dress rather than screened like they normally are. There is a even more elaborate version of the dress in the Ossie Clark book that I have shared here for dating reference. I have seen long versions with the embroidery on them come up for sale but those only have a small amount of detail on the bodice usually. This is the only one I've seen with this amount of extensive embroidery on it. It is utterly fantastic.
Ossie somehow manages to take a rather conservative feeling piece of clothing and work in the flow and drape that he was known for. His pieces always have a touch of sexuality to them that became one of his trademarks. Even with a dress like this where you are fully covered something magical happens once this lands on an actual body. The dress made out of a classic black moss crepe. The neckline is in a shallow V and there are button and loops that run across the top of each shoulder for added detailing. It is cut to skim over the bust to the waist. We see the influence of the 1930s in this dress with the curved vertical seams that run down the center of the bust and the gathered angled seam around the waist. The waist has attached ties on both sides. These wrap around and tie to cinch in the waist and add more shape. The skirt flows and flares out from there. It skims over the hips and then begins to flare out. There is a lot of movement in the lower skirt created by an added panel at the bottom of the skirt. I love the curved seam that attaches this lower panel to the dress. This gives it tons of movement when you move. The sleeves are have a touch of a cap at their tops and narrow down to a button at the wrist. That spectacular moon and stars print by Celia Birtwell covers the entire dress. To emphasize the shape and different parts of the dress the embroidery has been applied in different weights. Denser in some and more scattered inothers. This label is from the couture Ossie Clark line and it specifically what's the print is by Celia Birtwell. The midi length makes it extra versatile and it is a dress that will easily go from day to night. This is an exceptionally rare example of the pairs work. Excellent condition
Unlined and closes with a back set zipper. Attached ties at the waist. Each cuff has one fabric covered buttons at the wrist. Tagged an vintage UK 10.
Shoulders: no true define seam
Bust: 16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: to 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: to 17.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 44" from top of shoulder to hem
Modern Sizing Equivalent: XXS-XS
Reference Photo: "The sun and moon dress that Ossie made for Nicky Samuel, satin-backed silk crepe with embroidery applique, c.1971" from the book Ossie Clark 1965|74 by Judith Watt.
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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