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LONDON — The iconic Ossie Clark label, which relaunched last year, is shutting down.
This story first appeared in the July 16, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Due to market conditions, developing the business has been challenging and the decision has been made to cease trading,’’ a company spokesman said Wednesday.
Marc Worth, a clothing business veteran, hoped to turn Ossie Clark into a global designer brand. He had an exclusive licensing deal with Alfred Radley, a manufacturer who purchased Clark’s business in 1968. Worth never disclosed how much he paid for the license, although he told WWD in 2007 he planned to invest “a seven-figure sum’’ in the overall project.
A label of the Sixties and Seventies, Ossie Clark made its latest debut at London Fashion Week in February 2008 under the design direction of Avsh Alom Gur. Gur’s last collection for Ossie Clark was for fall 2009. His colorful, print-filled collections had received mixed reviews, and he quit the label in March to focus on his signature line.
Clark, one of the most influential designers of the Sixties and Seventies, was best known for his detailed, architectural tailoring, and his clothing was often complimented by the romantic prints of his then-wife, Celia Birtwell. Once known as “King of the Kings Road,’’ Clark’s fluid, often biased-cut shapes were distinctive with their full sleeves, swingy skirts and scoop necks.
During his heyday, Clark was friends with celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Cecil Beaton, Jimi Hendrix and Marianne Faithfull.
Even after his death in 1996, Clark’s designs continued to attract a fashionable fan base, including Kate Moss, Zandra Rhodes and Emma Watson, who was photographed this month wearing vintage Ossie Clark to the London premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.”
Clark’s business acumen never matched his creative talents. He was declared bankrupt in 1983, and was living in a government subsidized apartment at the time of his death.
The Ossie Clark closing follows that of Biba, another vintage brand that a private investor had attempted to revise. Biba shut last summer after a few seasons on the London runway.