The re-launch of Ossie Clark has been short-lived: another victim of the recession, it was announced today that the label was closing after just three collections. It appears that its commercial appeal wasn’t sufficient to take the label any further during a major economic turndown.

The label was backed by one of the founders of WGSN, Marc Worth, who sold the internet fashion news service to EMAP for £140 million in 2005. (Marc continues to be linked to fashion – he sits on the board of on-line retailer Osoyou.com)

The writing may have been on the wall for the label when head designer Avsh Alom Gur left in March, with the usual spin (departing to concentrate on his eponymous label), and was replaced by Nargess Gharani, of British label Gharani Strok, whose work for the label will remain unseen.

It’s not just the Ossie Clark label which has had trouble in the fashion phoenix arena: Halston & Biba’s recent less than stellar relaunches all point to the lack of enthusiasm in the markets for resurrecting iconic Seventies brands.

Biba went into receivership for the second time in summer 2008, whilst prospective Halston store buyers complained bitterly about the lack of Halston DNA in the revamped collection. The reviews of Ossie Clark were equally lacklustre.

Halston have addressed the criticisms of the line by firing Marco Zanini & hiring Marios Schwab for the main line earlier this year. They have also covered their backs with the announcement of the Spring 2010 launch of the Halston Heritage collection.

It’s doubtful whether a Halston level of fiscal commitment was in place to get Ossie Clark to that kind of commercial standing (Halston backers include Tamara Mellon & Harvey Weinstein), as it became increasingly obvious that Ossie Clark’s name recognition outside the UK lacked the clout of Halston.

Ossie Clark attempted to get back on track with Avsh Alom Gur’s final seventies redux collection for the house for Fall 09, which unfortunately proved only that this was this was not a line that should be showing on the catwalk. (The same criticism that proved fatal to the Biba re-launch.)

It seems that the Ossie Clark name will continue to live on in the closets of serious vintage collectors only.

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3 comments

Reply

perhaps it's best the memory of Ossie isn't dimmed with work that isn't worthy. I didn't know he wasn't widely known outside the UK- it's a real shame because he was a total genius.

If I had more money I would obsessively collect his work.

I adore Celia Birtwell too, she's one of my examples for how to deal with being older!

Reply

Halston? HALSTON? Hmmm. Do they carry that at the Goodwill???

Reply

The whole strategy was wrong. Other people would have done a better job.

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