Saturday, 1 May 2010


Royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies' museum and archive recently opened to the public at number 14 Savile Row. Housed within two elegant showrooms above the firm's existing tailoring business, the museum exhibits some fine examples of Amies' glamorous dress and suit designs - primarily in shades of the designer's signature brown hue.

Amies' 1939 'Made In England' lapel seemed ironically non-British in its audacity - and a precursor to the patriotic, iconic English attitude seen today in the work of designers such as ginger-headed loon Vivienne Westwood. Queen Elizabeth's 1955 Royal warrant sealed Amies' reputation internationally although the label's design submissions for Princess Diana's 1981 wedding dress were unsuccessful. Rightly so, as the chic French museum attendant remarked - would you really want your wedding dress designed by your mother-in-law's couturier?

The museum included many of Amies' personal effects and photographs in addition to sketches produced as costume designer for Stanley Kubrick's film 2001 A Space Odyssey. The archive also featured an amazing collection of leather-bound Vogue issues dating back to the '30s, situated in the Hollywood-style rouge velvet padded alcove overlooking the building's grand staircase where clients rested between fittings.

Amies' total aesthetic code extended to wallpaper design, whose bold graphic style apparently (and unfortunately) never made the production line. The Museum provides a nostalgic view into a far more glamorous era upstairs, while the modern men's tailoring concern downstairs continues to keep alive bespoke Savile Row traditions with your basic suit a snip at just £3500. Dandies, you know it makes sense. 


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