Debenham’s is following the current highstreet trend for relaunching iconic designer collections by issuing a new Ossie Clark range in February next year. Queens editor-in-chief and Ossie fan Lena Weber argues why this is a case of rip off Britain.

I’m a huge Ossie Clark fan but  – budget you see – only own one of his dresses. It’s moth-holed and has a tear in the hem but I still wear it. When it comes to fabric and design, it’s the most perfect dress I own – no one cut dresses this flattering but Ossie Clark.

When I heard about the Debenham’s relaunch my heart sank. I couldn’t help but think of a similar relaunch, that of iconic Sixties label Biba by House of Fraser, which does little more than stick Barbara Hulanicki’s Art Deco label on cheaply fashioned clothes. They even do Swarovski-encrusted jeans. When I interviewed Barbara earlier this year about the one thing she would change in her career, she talked about how it important it is to retain copyright of your designs.

Unlike Biba, Ossie Clark wasn’t a label, he was a designer. Relaunching his line, without him, seems ridiculous. Could you relaunch Schiaparelli without Elsa? Madame Grès without Ms Krebs? I’m not the only one arguing this – blogger Advantage in Vintage and Seventies fashion expert Get Some Vintage-A-Peel make the same point.

If you need hard evidence, just take a look at one of the dresses which will be released as part of the 90+ piece collection. If the news of a relaunch made my heart sink, this nearly made me cry. To see Clark’s legacy reduced to a bat-winged wrap dress (remember, he wasn’t a print designer – his fabrics were designed by his wife, Celia Birtwell) leaves me speechless.

Which leaves the one question: why is Debenham’s relaunching Clark to begin with? The answer is simple – to make money off someone else’s innovation and skill. I call that a rip off.


4 Responses

  1. Louise Kolbeinsen

    Amen! This is a terrible idea. And that dress…… looks hideous, more like Katie Price for Debenhams.

  2. deborah

    Ossie Clarke was an important designer in his day and reviving his name means he will now be important to modern times and not be forgotten, if new designers choose to re launch his lable it should be celebrated, fashions have moved on and through the imagination of other designers that value his designs we should celebrate the ossie Clarke label and feel proud

  3. Leila

    Oh dear, it is so wrong and so far away of what Ossie did or would have done! Everything is wrong, the dress, the background and the model. I hope all Ossie Clark fans will realize this is just a way of selling cheapo made in China rags and will not succumb to this scam, I certainly will not.