Ossie Clark being relaunched by Debenhams – super exciting

If you think of a designer who epitomised the late 1960s/early 197os, the name that probably springs to mind is Ossie Clark. The flamboyant designer created a wealth of beautiful, floaty garments that featured the glorious prints of his wife, Celia Birtwell. These were the clothing of choice for all who were famous, beautiful and beloved of the generation. Bianca Jagger wore an Ossie Clark design for her 1971 wedding to Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenburg. Marianne Faithfull, Ali McGraw, Angelica Huston, Twiggy and Mick Jagger himself all shone in Ossie’s designs, which were characterised by beautiful prints, fluid movement and those long sweeping sleeves.

Bianca Jagger

Amanda Lear in Ossie Clark

Marianne Faithfull in Ossie Clark 1973

Ali McGraw 1969


Mick and Bianca 1971

Ossie Clark died in 1996, murdered by his ex-lover at the tragically young age of 56, but the Ossie Clark legacy has long lived on. Many designers have been influenced by the shapes and prints, including Matthew Williamson, who boho creations certainly have echoes of Ossie Clark in his heyday. And with maxi dresses and jumpsuits now an integral part of our wardrobes, there has never been a better time for a relaunch for Ossie Clark, and Debenhams is doing just that.

Nicholas Georgiou, a graduate of Saint Martins, will oversee the creative direction, which will look to the Ossie Clark archives in order to revive classic designs and re-imagine the prints in new settings.  Retail prices for the collection will range from £49 to £189, and will be available in 45 Debenhams stores across the country, and online from February.

One of the new designs on display at the Debenhams Press day

I was lucky enough to have had a chance to view a few of the designs during the Debenhams Spring/Summer press day. I was impressed with the element of fun that was visible in the clothing. The prints having a definite retro feel, but the clothing feeling modern none the less. Ossie’s original designs are now highly sort after and sell for huge prices, so this is a nice way to tap into the Ossie Clark look without having to re-mortgage your house.


One of the new designs for Debenhams


M&S ditch those glamorous Adverts

Marks & Spencer on Briggate following a recent...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems the politically correct campaign led to the nauseous Liz Jones of the Daily Mail have won.M&S have apparently decided to ditch their glamorous ad campaigns that revitalised their stuffy image.  The ads, which starred a host of gorgeous women from Dannii Minogue, VV Brown and Twiggy, not to mention Lizzy Jagger and Erin O Conner, are now going to be no more.

One of the first ads - I've still got Erin's cardigan

This is a result of criticism that the brand has received from the press. Liz Jones wrote in the Daily Mail: ‘Never mind yacht frolickers Twiggy, Dannii Minogue, where is the bigger woman on that boat, or the woman in her 70s? Ignore them at your peril.And… ditch the TV ad campaign’

I think this is a real shame. I personally loved those ads, particularly the first couple, which used music from Sailor and ELO and showed the girls in a range of amazing outfits. They were glossy and stylish, and totally covetable, but attainable at the same time. It was hard to believe that the outfits on display were really from M&S. And it seemed a master stroke having a teenaged Lizzy Jagger modelling clothes from the same store as the 60 something Twiggy.

The Christmas ads became a much looked forward to part of Christmas. I loved the one that featured the girls looking like they were having the Grease sleepover in curlers and pj’s, singing along to the Bee Gees. These ads had it all, beautiful women who we actually liked, great outfits that were well styled, and a touch of humour as Peter Kaye skated across the screen.

But now they will be no more. And Liz Jones was right on some level. Maybe the adverts were crying out for a septagenarian to reflect some of M&S’s traditional market, maybe they did need a plus sized girl to balance out all the perfect figures on display. But surely this could’ve been achieved. There are some stunning plus sized models and celebrities out there who could have enhanced the ads ( Ruth Jones, Dawn  French, Marquita Pring would all have been fabulous), whilst I would’ve loved to see the glamorous Honor Blackman or Sue Nichols added to the  mix. But did the adverts actually alienate anyone? Did the lack of a plus sized girl in the ad campaign mean that size 16’s shopped elsewhere. I  don’t think so. Did the older generations stop shopping in M&S because the adverts were full of beautiful younger women? Of course not. Today, the age barrier to fashion is more blurred than ever with 60 year olds wearing jeans, whilst teenagers wear what can only be described as Granny chic. My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday this year with a party where she wore leggings and a tunic!

But to say that the ads showing the women in glossy surroundings were a turn off due to recession just seems rubbish. In times of recession we need more escapism, not less. Face the facts, we still watch travel programmes about holidays we can’t afford, watch Sex in the City reruns about women with the most amazing wardrobes imaginable and buy glossy magazines featuring clothes we’ll never wear. Escapism is one of the most enjoyable parts of life, and the M&S ads were a few minutes of escapism between the dreariness of Coronation Street and the news programmes. I’ll really miss them.

Miss Selfridge A/W preview – choose your era!

The Arcadia press day was a great showcase for the new collections from Miss Selfridge. Rather than choosing to focus on just one fabulous era, Miss Selfridge has chosen to take great elements from many different decades in order to create a treasure trove of a new collection for Autumn/Winter 2011/12. Prepare to be dazzled!

There are heavily embellished flapper style dresses with art deco styling that evoke the 1920s, pretty floral teadresses from the 1940s that are bought bang up to date by being styled with colour clashing shoes. 1950s style turbans a la Grace Kelly add grown up glamour and sophistication to both day wear and evening wear, while pretty, but classic mini dresses conjure up the picture of Twiggy, all long sleeves and flared skirts, in her 1960s glory.

There are some stunning vibrant colours in this collection. A bright purple mini dress with sheer sleeves catches the eye, whilst the 1970s inspired camel shade is still going strong, mixed into animal prints and worn with mustard, as well as primary shades.

This collection contains some stunning evening wear. There are Marilyn Monroe style lame dresses, 1980s bodycon maxis in stretchy fabrics and full length beaded dresses that will be the must have dress for the festive season. accessories are also super stylish with a glam retro feel. Fur tippets that are draped around shoulders, cloche hats similar to those worn by Elizabeth Bowes Lyon in the early 1920s. T-Bar shoes enhance all the clothing, becoming a wardrobe must have.

Stunningly beautiful, evoking Hollywood grown up glamour, this is a very different collection from Miss Selfridge, one full of must have pieces that will add sparkle and style to any wardrobe.