A new, handpainted Ossie Clark dress

In the mid-Seventies Ossie Clark was the toast of fashionable London. His fluid dresses were best-sellers, his marriage to print designer Celia Birtwell was immortalized in David Hockney’s painting Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, and he was often spotted palling around town with such friends as Jimi Hendrix, Marianne Faithfull, and Mick and Bianca Jagger. But like so many fashion fairy tales, Clark’s didn’t have a happy ending. He went bankrupt, dropped out of the fashion scene and was stabbed to death in 1996. The appeal of his designs, however, lived on, and over the years his work has inspired Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Anna Sui, among others. Now, Marc Worth, cofounder of the online fashion news service WGSN, is hoping to revive the label. Worth recently struck a licensing deal with Alfred Radley, who owns Clark’s business and 700-piece archive. Avsh Alom Gur, a veteran of Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli, Chloé and Nicole Farhi, is heading up the new design team. “This is not going to be a retrospective, and we’re not going to be following a formula,” Gur told WWD. “Each season we may be inspired by something different from the archive. It could be color, print or proportion. The flavor, spirit and slightly careless Ossie Clark style will always be present.”

Photo: Tim Jenkins