Amies, Hardy

He was a British fashion designer. He was born in London on July 17, 1909. Initially he wanted to be a journalist, and when contacting RD Blumenfeld, the then editor of the Daily Express, through his father, he decided to follow his advice and went on a journey to enrich his life experiences. He spent three years in France and Germany learning both languages, and working as a government agent and then an English teacher. In 1930 he returned to England and started to work as a salesman for a ceramic tile factory and later as a salesman for scales.

It was his mother who got contacts for him within the fashion world. When describing a dress for a retired French lady he caught the attention of the owner of the Maison Lachasse, since the lady was his wife. So he ended up becoming manager of the maison in 1934, when he was 25 years old.

In 1937 he was successful with the green tweed suit named “Panic”. The suit was very successful and was even photographed by Cecil Beaton for Vogue. By the end of the 1930s he was already designing the entire Lachase collection. Next came another success, “Made in England”, a suit for actress Mildred Shay.

In 1939 he left the Maison Lachasse and in 1941 he started to work for the Maison Worth.

Because of the fluent French and German when the Second World War started, he was drafted. In the army he worked with the “Executive Special Operations” organization. In 1944 he enraged his superiors when he held a photo shoot for Vogue with photographer Lee Miller shortly after D-Day.

Military document of Hardy Amies.

After the end of the war, the Countess of Jersey, Virginia, a former client at the time of the Maison Lachasse financed Amies so that he could open his own Maison on 14 Savile Row. In January 1946 he opened such Maison that worked with men’s and women’s fashion. In the same year he was awarded Sir Edwin Hardy Amies in Belgium (and in 1989 in England).

The facade of the Hardy Amies store.

In 1950 he designed the clothes for the trip to Canada for the then princess Elizabeth II. From then on he became the royal seamstress, making clothes for the Princess and later Queen until 1990.

From 1954 to 1956 Amies was vice president of the “Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers”, an organization of British textile designers and producers and from 1959 to 1960 he was the president.

In 1959, he was one of the first designers to start wearing ready-to-wear when he teamed up with the multinational company Hepworth & Son and produced a men’s collection. When he made the collection, he also became the first women’s clothing designer to produce men’s clothing.

In 1966 came contributions to the sport, Amies designed the England team’s uniform for the FIFA World Cup. In 1972 it was the turn of the British Olympic delegation for the Olympics. He also worked with some teams like the Oxford College Boat Club.

Like most fashion designer, Hardy Amies also partnered with cinema, the most notable of which was the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by director Staley Kubrick. Some of his other films were: Albert Finney’s costume for “Two for the Road” (1967), Tony Randall’s for “The Alphabet Murders” (1965), Joan Greenwood for “The Amorous Prawn” (1962 ) and Deborah Kerr for “The Grass is Greener” (1960).

In addition to a fashion designer Amies was also a writer, in 1964 he wrote a column on men’s fashion for Esquire magazine. The column ended up becoming the book “ABC of Men’s Fashion”.

ABC of Men’s Fashion book cover.

Amies Hardy retired in 2001 and sold his Maison to the Luxury Brands Group conglomerate, which placed fashion designer Jacques Azagury as chief designer. In 2008 the maison went bankrupt and was sold to the LI & Fung Group, and since 2003 the maison’s clothes have been signed by Ian Garlant.

Hardy Amies passed away on March 5, 2003.

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Bibliography: Callan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da moda de 1840 à década de 90 / Georgina O’Hara Callan ; verbetes brasileiros Cynthia Garcia : tradução Glória Maria de Mello Carvalho, Maria Ignez França – São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2007.

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