|About the Book|
More a four and a half stars, really. Not that the book is so great, but it really drags you in to that period when London was swinging and Northern was cool! I bought this book, after going to see an exhibition of Ossie Clark clothes at the Gallery of Costume in Manchester. The exhibition wasnt very large, (consisting of only 25 pieces and I suspect that was counting matching skirt and jacket sets as two pieces) and wasnt supported by either a catalogue or books in the shop, but on the way out, I found a book of seventies fashion and a card of a 1970s Zandra Rhodes gown to buy and asked if I could pay for them. The woman behind the counter took my payment and the male attendant, (Mr Dishy,) says, Thats a natty outfit youre wearing! Oh, thanks, I say. I thought, since Im coming to see an Ossie Clark exhibition I should make an effort to look the part! (I am wearing a wonderful 1970s, powder blue, Crimplene casual suit, consisting of flared slacks and a Harrington-style jacket, with a one-piece top, that looks like a pale blue and navy jumper, with a knitted, navy polo shirt underneath, topped by a blue and grey check baker boy cap.) I only ever wear 1970s clothes.Really? asks Mr Dishy, sounding suddenly very interested, authentic originals? Yes. Have you seen [such-a-body,] the lecturer from the fashion college, in town? He always wears great, wide flares! Well, if you ever want to make a donation, were always short of mens clothes, because men tend not to look after their clothes the same. I laugh and say, Oh, well in that case, you might be getting some donations because my sister is coming over in July and shes bound to go through my wardrobe and say, Honestly! What do you want all these for? You can get rid of this and you can get rid of this...! Oh! Well Ill give you a card- the head curators card and if you have anything give him a call.He seemed so keen that I didnt have the heart to tell him that it was only a joke! Mind you, knowing my sister, the joke might just end up being on me!Anyway, since there was nothing about Ossie or his clothes in the shop, I bought this book online, to find out a bit more...You dont really learn much about Ossie, beyond the reiteration that he was a master cutter and worked with fabric cut on the bias, which I already knew. I would have liked a bit more technical stuff- exploded diagrams of dresses, so that I could see how the patterns looked and how they were put together, descriptions of his techniques... It would have been nice to have more range in the clothes in the photographs- cutting on the bias, creates sensual, clinging clothes, like the majority of the garments in the exhibition, but the book concentrated more on the frilly and flouncy.What it did do, however, was name drop for England! Among the more famous names like David Hockney and Bianca Jagger, were a multitude of 60s/70s fashionistas, who were name-checked like you had any clue who they were! And it painted a very vivid picture of a talented couturier, but a hopeless business man in an era of seemingly endless hopeless business people. Fashion seemed to be the punk of the late 60s/early 70s, (indeed, Vivienne Westwood is one of the names dropped, as up-and-coming,) and Two-tone rolled into one. It seemed like there was a great do-it-yourself ethos, where trendy shops would open up one month and disappear in a cloud of debt the next. It also showed how this period was the beginning of the democratisation of fashion, with Ossies designs being at the forefront, with his Diffusions range for Radley and Ossies fashion show in 1967 was the first British fashion show to feature black models.So, all in all, not much substance to this book, but plenty of style and a thoroughly enjoyable trip back to a time when Brit meant hip!