Le Royal Dressmaker
“A man should look as if he bought his clothes with intelligence,
put them on with care, then forgot about them.”
Incorporated in 1946, The House of Hardy Amies is situated on London’s famous Savile Row, the true home of Bespoke clothing.
Amies was widely admired for his fine tailoring, attention to detail and upper crust style. Is there any doubt? Just look at him. He oozes class. Double breasted pin stripped suit, gelled hair, pocket handkerchief. The epitome of panache and polish! Not unsurprisingly, he started a men’s line in the 60’s. He was also the stylist for some wonderful films, including 2001 Space Odyssey and Two For the Road.
Aimes photographs one of his elegant evening gowns, UK, 1965
Hardy Amies is best known as the Royal Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth. The Queen may never have been a fashion plate, but her quiet wardrobe reflected a spirit of aristocratic England that preferred clothes that would not “frighten the horses.”
Design by Sir Hardy Amies, ca. 1951.
Known for his acid wit as well as for the creation of the vivid but simple and feminine royal style, Amies’ best known creation was the gown he designed in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee portrait which, he claimed, was “immortalized on a thousand biscuit tins.”
Barbara Goalen models Hardy Amies
Amies formed the last bastion of British couture, holding twice-yearly shows where a small but loyal and well-heeled clientele filed into his showroom to take their place on little gilt chairs and applaud womenswear that upheld the great British tradition of clothes that were beautifully made but rigorously conservative.
A model wears a fitted, Cumberland tweed, Amies’ suit with checked, wrap-around coat to match. UK, 1950.
A master of the bon mot, his favorite phrase was that “great style is insouciance — it is very vulgar to be impressed by your own clothes.”
Sir (Edwin) Hardy Amies with two fashion models.
Following the mandate that a woman of breeding would not be comfortable or, dare be viewed as, conspicuous parading about town – or country – dressed like the proverbial Christmas tree, Aimes rigidly held to promoting a look and style that many thought downright dowdy.
Sir (Edwin) Hardy Amies.
The most admired trait of Hardy Aimes might best be summed up in his declaration of being a self-proclaimed snob because, he said, it meant “liking what is best.”