Mr & Mrs Clark. Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell | Fashion and Prints 1965-74

17 September 2022 – 8 January 2023

Museo del Tessuto, in collaboration with the Sozzani Foundation and the Massimo Cantini Parrini Archive, dedicates the first exhibition ever held in Italy featuring the clothing designer Ossie Clark and his life- and atelier-partner Celia Birtwell, two absolute protagonists of the London scene and pop culture of the 1960s and 70s.

Starting with a first important nucleus of clothes from the Massimo Cantini Parrini Archive, enriched with further loans from the American collection of Lauren Lepire and the archives of the Clark family and Celia Birtwell herself, the exhibition curated by Federico Poletti presents a series of original clothes featuring by the iconic prints of Ossie and Celia. The exhibition also explains the context and evolution of their work through videos and video interviews, photos, editorials and original drawings.

With his unmistakable flower-power style, and one step ahead of new trends, Ossie was defined the “King of Kings Road” for his 1930s and 40s-inspired dresses with a slender cut that revealed the décolleté amidst sensual movements and plays on transparency. His short, but very intense, career left its mark in London in the period between Mary Quant’s miniskirt and the subversive punk movement of Malcolm MacLaren and Vivienne Westwood, from 1965 to 1974.

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Celia drew prints on light crêpes, silks and chiffons, and Ossie transformed them into clothes that immediately conquered the international jet-set. From Brigitte Bardot to Liz Taylor or Verushka, everyone was fascinated by their fashion. Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg. Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Bianca Jagger and Marisa Berenson are just some of the people that Ossie Clark dressed.

Clark was the first designer to extend the concept of performance to fashion shows, presenting his garments in a novel manner and proposing them in the most diverse places, for example the Royal Court Theatre in 1971 with the musical contribution of David Gilmour, one of the founders of Pink Floyd. His muses included Jane Birkin and Amanda Lear, who participated in his fashion shows for years, up to Celia herself from whom he separated in 1973 to reach the last A/W 1974 collection presented at King’s Road Theatre, which marked the end of their “golden age” and the change of an era.


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Temporary exhibition from 17 September 2022 al 8 January 2023

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