I’ve mentioned before that Topshop has been using textile designer Celia Birtwell’s association with Ossie Clark to knock off the late designer’s work. To sum it up for those who didn’t read my previous post on the topic, Celia was married to Ossie back in the day. She designed the striking prints that were used in many of his designs. So, between her almost-identical-to-the-original prints and a name that’s strongly associated with Ossie, Topshop has been merrily producing Ossie lookalikes without any of the credit going to Ossie.
That was okayish with me. Celia did do the original prints, after all, and we all take inspiration from the past. I know I do! But this open-shoulder, ruffled dress takes the homage way too far.
I don’t see any fancy, Celia-designed print on that dress, do you? What I do see is a dress that’s identical except in length to a well-known Ossie design. Here I am in 2005, wearing the floor-length original. Don’t try to click this photo to enlarge it. Due to heinous hair and alarming dress sheerness, you’re lucky I’m sharing this photo even in miniature.
The Topshop dress even has an open back just like the original. Shameless!
Ouch! That’s pretty bad. I mean, I try to be very openminded about how ephemeral the concept of creative ownership is and how inevitable it is for the zeitgeist (and the economy) to create repetition in the commercial arts, but COME ON. The backstory on this just takes it from question to TOTALLY IMMORAL.
Sharon Rose says
Hi there-yes, not only that, but the quality of the majority of these pieces is poor too. The only good thing here Wendy is another Ossie picture-I wish I could enlarge it, you look like a model straight from the 70s here!! The hair and the sheerness just add to the cuteness-I love this picture!!
Kudos for owning hte original! Shameless of Topshop indeed.
Kudos for owning hte original! Shameless of Topshop indeed.
Ladies Who Lunch says
I thinkj Liz emmapeelpants has pointed out Topshops rip off designs before from the Kate Moss range. They are shameless. BTW you look great in the photo 🙂
Miss Karen says
Mmmm that one’s a doozy alright. It’s one thing to recreate a print but making a dress practically identical to an Ossie design is going too far. It’s a blatant rip off if there ever was one. They should be ashamed of themselves…
pretty face says
From what I can see, you look absolutely fantastic in that dress!
How do you make it so it can’t be enlarged? It’s so useful!
Okay I should be mad with you in this case but I’m drooling over how beautiful you are in that picture. I would have loved to see that I a large size!!!
God WendyB you’re stunning! I know you love Ossie but I think he loved you looking at you wearing that dress.
the Yellow Elephant says
That is awful! It’s good that you own an original, and it’s pretty!
May I say: I’ve scrolled down your blog, and those earrings with hedghogs are FANTASTIC and so CUTE! Do you sell them at your site?
Ashe Mischief says
You look totally hot in that dress! And your hair looks amazing, so shuddup.
My feelings on the matter are very well-known by now, but even *I* am astonished that they would put out a plain dress with her name on it. Surely even she must find that offensive?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again….these designers working at Topshop, what exactly are they designing?
Deja Pseu says
Yikes! Do they think no one will notice?? That’s pretty egregious.
Yep, that’s just stealing.
That’s disgraceful! Don’t they have enough revenue without ripping off designs to a T??
And I think you are gorgeous in that pic. The hair is adorable.
It sounds like they’re raiding the archives over there. Too bad. Why wouldn’t CB do new things instead of resurrecting the past?
You look beautiful in miniature!
shameless, but looks great! that cut is so flattering for your shoulders.
Savvy Mode SG says
you look fab. but ouch about the copy. that is quite shameful. it’s not even inspired but a total copy. i am sure yours has better quality still.
Always In Style says
That dress looks gorgeous on you!
i've never liked topshop… the music was always too loud and the crowds…bleh… and the clothes were more expensive than h&m, and the quality… not so good. and that was in my EARLY 20s! maybe they've turned around… but i don't know. i just haven't forgiven them yet, and you're not helping.
you look gorgeous by the way!
Miss Janey says
This has left the territory of “homage” and is smack dab in the middle of the land of plagiarism.
the iron chic says
I clicked on it anyway….wishful thinking.
Renée Sturme says
This is really shameless indeed! It’s an EXACT copy!
Oh dear, I haven’t been here for a quite long time…cool hairdo! It’s so great…
Yep, that’s a blatant knockoff, but you wear the original so well WendyB!
Make Do Style says
Gosh that is dreadful – a homage is one thing but an utter rip off terrible. Bet they didn’t know you had the original!
miss susanna says
You look fantastic! Besides being just wrong, the proportions on the Topshop dress are off — the original with the long skirt probably works much better.
fashion herald says
bad one. “inspiration” is common in all the arts but the good ones never outright steal.
Cammila, I know, I try not to be critical because after all, I’m highly inspired by antiquity! But at least I’m open about it. I always thought the deal with Celia was about using her name to siphon off the great goodwill that’s left towards Ossie without paying the rightful owners of his line. Just come out and admit it.
Sharon, the sheerness was shocking. I originally was wearing those “petals” under the dress and they were MUCH worse than going au natural.
Nay’Chelle, it’s a great piece…The manufacturer Al Radley produced quite a lot of those and there’s a fair number still floating around, which makes knocking it off even sillier.
LWL, thanks! Someone unfamiliar did my hair for an event though and it came out really strangely. Ever since then I tell unknown hairdressers to just make my hair “very straight” because at least I know in advance what that should look like.
MissK, they were getting close before with identical prints and identical dress designs, but this really pushed the envelope since there’s not even a print.
PF, there’s probably something smarter one can do, but I always link the picture to my website (or some other site) so that if people click on it they get sent elsewhere rather than to a pop-up photo.
Songy, you are too kind! I need you around all the time to prop my ego up.
Yellow, I’m so glad you like those! As I’m sure you saw, I left a comment on your blog.
Ashe, oh no, it was weird and chunky and stiff looking.
Emma, I don’t even mind reproductions. I love museum reproduction jewelry. Just be honest about it. They always act like Celia is doing SOMETHING for Topshop but she’s really doing nothing if this is her “design.”
DP, that’s the most egregious one yet.
Cybill, please make a citizen’s arrest for me.
K.Line, and imagine the poor quality that they’ve given to this innocent dress now. I shudder to think!
ENC, because why work if you can get paid to let people use your name?
Emily, thanks, just wish it weren’t soooo sheer. And of course it’s totally opaque looking to the naked eye, it’s just a problem with the camera.
Savvy, exactly, “inspired” is one thing, “identical” is another.
Jennine, I was never impressed by anything there.
MissJ, I’m sure they’d argue “but we used PINK trim!” Actually the original might have come in pink too, though I’ve mostly seen red and yellow. I did see a dress once where the moss crepe was pink and the trim at the shoulders was light blue.
Iron Chic, nice try!
Renee, oh, but the hem is higher (rolling eyes) which doesn’t even suit the dress.
Charlotte, thanks but I didn’t care for it much at the time and it hasn’t appealed to me since then either.
MakeDo, the weird thing is that this is probably one of the most easily available “real” Ossies. I’ve seen quite a few of them. Why knock off something that’s already out there?
MissS, I agree, the long skirt is a requirement!
tam pham says
i think you look FABULOUS…as always.
I love the original. It just looks…so well made if you look at it and the Topshop version side by side.
Zara also copied a Diane Von Furstenburg dress. The ladybug print. I have the Zara but when I saw the DVF, I just can’t wear my Zara dress anymore!
Susie Bubble says
Why am I not surprised…?
THE HOUSE OF STYLE says
i think like you said Wendy that is taking the homage way too far…
I mean Celia was a textile print designer so If the reproduce her prints that ossie used thats one thing,but just to reproduce the actual designs,cuts etc is taking it a bit too far. There is inspiration and there is simple copying!
Obviously your dress,the orginal is tons better anyways. ;o)
market publique says
Shameless indeed! Inspiration from the past, sure. – Just shortening it? not enough.
The worst part is that SO MANY designers do this. It’s sad.
You look great in the original Wendy B!
Diabolina 3.1 says
eating you up in that dress. yum!