Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Ossie Clark revival


From a public computer at Melbourne airport en route to New Zealand I bring you this long piece I have been working on for several months on the revival of Ossie Clark, which appears in today's Guardian

Seven minutes. This is all the unknown designer Avsh Alom Gur and his backer Marc Worth have - seven minutes to convince the arbiters of fashion of the comeback of the century, the revival of a defunct label and a dead name: Ossie Clark. The fashion press and the buyers are on the front row, watching with chilly eyes the product of four months' work, presented on the etiolated forms of teenage Latvian models robed in a yellow dress, a turquoise snakeskin suit and an organza pierrot blouse.

The models step on and off revolving metal plinths and rotate to a soundtrack of Jefferson Airplane's LSD anthem White Rabbit - a tribute to the 60s or, perhaps, to Clark's drug addiction. There is the silence of ennui, then a sudden, frenzied heads-down as the fashion press make notes. A long pause as the last model disappears. The designer runs through the two rooms to take his bow, and the audience briefly applaud, scramble to their feet and into taxis. It's on to the next show, which is Jasper Conran.

London Fashion Week is not one long cocktail party; it is an impatient wait for shows that are running late, and other shows that are running late because the last one ran late, and nothing can start before the key editors and buyers arrive. And nothing exemplifies the reality of Fashion Week more than the brevity of these shows and the terrifying and final speed of the verdict. No time for thought, reflection, a second look. It's all in the momentary impression, the practised eye. The Ossie Clark collection, one of the week's hottest tickets, was launched at the Serpentine Gallery on a day that began with high hopes and ended with the threat of legal action by Clark's two sons.