IN the world of fashion the name Ossie Clark looms large.

This quintessentially English fashion designer was one of the biggest names in the Swinging Sixties. He was one of those young, talented artists who burst into the public consciousness once the Beatles had opened the way for everyone.

So, when you think of people like photographer David Bailey, artist David Hockney, actor Terence Stamp, dress designer Mary Quant, you should also think of Ossie Clark.

It has often been said that he was Britain’s answer to Yves Saint Laurent.

I was prompted to write this column while watching an episode of Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling, the BBC’s new detective drama based on J K Rowling’s novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Private investigator Cormoran Strike flicks through a coffee table book about fashion and finds a picture of his mother wearing an Ossie Clark dress.

Ossie was born in Liverpool, although he spent some of his childhood in Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire (hence the nickname Ossie) as an evacuee.

His story – like those of many Sixties legends – was a rollercoaster ride and ended tragically 21 years ago.

Ossie was born Raymond Clark on June 9, 1942 in Liverpool. His parents were Samuel and Anne Clark.

Ossie had five siblings, Gladys, Kay, Beryl, Sammy and John. As a child he was a particularly adept singer and won awards while in the choir at St Oswald’s Church, Winwick.

He was a pupil at Beamont Technical School before going on to study at the Regional College of Art in Manchester. It was here he met his wife Celia Birtwell. His friend, David Hockney, famously painted the pair, along with their cat, in Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, now regarded as one of Hockney’s greatest paintings.

Ossie studied at the Royal College of Art after which a double-page feature in Vogue magazine brought him to the attention of the fashion world.

During the 60s, Ossie worked closely with the Rolling Stones, while The Beatles were regulars at his shows, and George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd was a regular modeller.

By the late 70s (when punk exploded) and the 1980s, Ossie’s work was falling out of favour and he experienced difficult times that must have been hard after the flamboyance and success of the 60s.

Ossie came out at around this time and, tragically, it was a gay lover who stabbed him to death in his council flat in London on August 6, 1996.

Warrington Museum held the first major retrospective of his work in 1999 and 2000.

I would love to hear from anyone who has memories or stories to tell of Ossie Clark.