Tag Archives: Style

Designer Spotlight – Hardy Amies

Taken from The British Fashion Council, and inspired by last weekend’s London Collections: Men where Hardy Amies’ Creative Director Mehmet Ali showed the luxury brand’s A/W 2015 collection.

HARDY AMIES – Historical Brand Biography Menswear Heritage

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Edwin Hardy Amies examining fashion designs for the following season: 1952

When Sir Hardy Amies launched ‘Man’, his debut menswear catwalk show 51 years ago at The Savoy hotel onlookers were agog with Society doyenne Lady Diana Cooper declaring, “Daahling… but it will never take off”. The subsequent headlines proved her quite wrong with glowing reviews for a unique event from the man who dressed HM The Queen.

Over half a Century later, the House of Hardy Amies is now under the distinct eye of Creative Director Claire Malcolm.

Dapper, dashing and aquiline, Sir Hardy Amies and his diktats were all too often terrifying. A lover of men and menswear he detested cufflinks, liked leathers and thought it naff to wear black tie in the evening – always insisting on midnight blue. He turned his nose up at turn- ups, was bemused by the 1960s beatnik look and on the subject of men’s underwear demanded it be ‘kept brief’.

As the first designer to put menswear on the catwalk in 1961, Hardy Amies decided the event had to be ‘special’, moreover memorable. The show proved to be a first on many levels. It was the first of its kind to have recorded music playing and the first time a designer accompanied his models on stage.

The designer Kenneth Partridge (who was the mastermind behind every society ball and pop-star home of the time), Brian Epstein and John Lennon, produced the show. Partridge recalled Hardy’s excitement. “Hardy was like a child in a candy shop. He was determined the show would be a success and intent on making as big an impact as possible joined the models on the catwalk at the close of the show. Something that had never been seen before”. He continued, “He picked the music and then keeping it a secret even from me, arranged for the creation of a gargantuan paper maché gloved hand adorned with bracelets and rings to wave regally behind the models at the close of the show. Hardy Amies told reporters afterwards that the hand was the Queen giving menswear her seal of approval”. The Queen was said to have been amused when hearing of the spectacle.

Hardy Amies on the steps of No. 14 Savile Row: 1950

Hardy Amies on the steps of No. 14 Savile Row: 1950

A former Hardy Amies PR man described Sir Hardy Amies as, “Imperious, arrogant and pompous, but saved by great wit and a wonderful sense of humour”. Sir Hardy Amies would quite agree adding ‘snob’ to the list.

Hardy used to say in his youth that his social climbing had been so energetic he would take his alpenstock to parties. Best known as London’s most successful couturier he dressed HM The Queen (from her accession to the throne until his retirement in 1989) who along with her sister HRH Princess Margaret delighted in his mimicry; full of antechamber gossip he ached to tell, but like contemporary and fellow court dressmaker Sir Norman Hartnell, held his tongue for propriety sake. As a former member of the SOE, he knew what was strictly

forbidden. “Kim Philby was always trying to get information out of me.” he complained to a friend and when asked what sort of information Hardy retorted, “well, the name of my tailor of course!”

Outside the constraints of Buckingham Palace, Amies found other avenues to channel his wit, frivolity and sarcasm, the latter usually on the barman at his London club, if he dared to forget to have martini with a twist of orange peel (his own recipe) waiting on his table on arrival.

Hardy Amies fitting a model in the Grand Salon: 1955

Hardy Amies fitting a model in the Grand Salon: 1955

The only man in the British army to have his uniform tailored on Savile Row, Amies never forgot his fashion background (beginning as Design Director at the House of Lachasse in 1934) even when in the midst of armed warfare on the front line. He actually engaged famed war photographer Lee Miller to produce a series of poised pictures for Vogue before he left to serve in Belgium.

Amies dressed HM The Queen and the wider House of Windsor and before the Windsor’s, Hollywood Royalty, becoming great friends with Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr., and great beauties Ava Gardner and Hedy Lamarr.

By the 1960s his involvement in film and film stars transcending to costume designer on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Two for the Road with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn and re-inventing the bowler hat worn with great modern splendour by Patrick McNee on The Avengers. David Hockney favoured wide pin-stripe coats whereas Peter Sellers liked skinny fitting suits.

Despite the attraction of high profile names, not every star was welcomed by Sir Hardy Amies with open arms. Society legend Zsa Zsa Gabor recalled seeing Hardy give Frank Sinatra a dressing down in LA in the eighties. “Hardy looked Sinatra up and down and told him that for a man of his stature, to wear a double-breasted suit was wrong! Wrong! Wrong!” Another witnessed Hardy insisting a prospective client take up a gym membership before expecting to wear a Hardy Amies suit with flair!

Sir Hardy’s lore on the subject of dress was always direct and droll famously demanding that, “A woman’s day clothes must look equally good at Salisbury Station as the Ritz bar” and for men that, “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them”.

The House of Hardy Amies Today

The House of Hardy Amies Today

Austin Mutti-Mewse

Curator, Hardy Amies

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The Lackluster Golden Globes Red Carpet & What They Should Have Worn

Save for Kate Hudson in Versace and J.Lo in Zahair Murad, the ensembles parading down the Golden Globe’s red carpet tonight turned out to be one giant disappointment (Emma Stone wore a jumpsuit and Lorde wore trousers…and media sources are commending them…really!?). Celebrities should look down right jaw-dropping for these kinds of high profile events, especially for the Golden Globes which is considered one of the biggest red carpet fashion events of the year. We don’t know whether to blame the celebs or their stylists, but we sure know it’s not because of a lack of innovative design, the couture collections for this year are absolutely stunning. Here’s are some looks we wish we saw adorning out favorite stars at this year’s awards:

Stephane Rolland 

SRred2 SRred1

SRmaroon1SRmaroon2

SRBWSRBW2

SRblack1SRblack2

Zahair Murad

ZM1

Ralph & Russo

R&R2 R&R1 R&R3

Azzaro

Azzaro1

Versace

Versace

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Top Five Summer Dresses 2014

An eclectic mix of elements will be seen meshing together in the outfits of the fashion conscious this summer. Lace overlays, sheer cutouts, pale pastels, a mini ‘90s revival, athletic aesthetics, floral patterns and iridescent fabrics were among the most trending features reported by the top fashion intelligence experts. Five clear dress styles are sure to become summer wardrobe staples, encompassing trending elements in a wide variety of breathable fabrics from romantic flowing silks to sporty jersey knits:

shirtdress1. The Menswear Inspired Shirtdress

The comfortable and versatile shirtdress is by far the number one top trending dress style for summer 2014. In lengths ranging from maxi to mini, the traditional shirtdress will be seen in pastel shirting fabrics like Raspberry Pink Chambray  and all-white cottons like White BroadclothMore formal versions will be made of elegant, slinky fabrics like Chambray Blue Slinky and Dusty Blue Crepe Sweater Knit Floral and geometric prints like the Blue Block Polyester Charmeuse will also be major themes in this particular dress style.

2. The Sexy Pencil SkirtPencilSkirt

Pencil skirts that land just above to knee to calf-length are a big summer must-have. The body-hugging silhouette will be seen with lace overlays from bright red stretch laceto pastels like Pink Peach Stretch LaceDark Blush Pink Laceand Cream Stretch Lace Pencil skirts will also be made of light-weight jersey knits made of polyester/spandex or cotton/spandex blends for an exaggerated form-fitting look with this summer’s trending prints like animal print motifsgrey/black snakeskin jersey knitGrey Snakeskin Jersey KnitGrey Cheetah Jersey KnitGrey/Purple Cheetah Jersey Knitand tribal prints White/Orange Aztec Jersey Knit and Beige Aztec Stripe Jersey KnitPencil skirts with black stretch mesh cutouts are also popular, adding an extra hint of sex appeal to the already sexy silhouette.

SlinkySlipDress

3. The Slinky Slip Dress

A staple of the ‘90s wardrobe, the slip dress is making a revival this summer in iridescent silks and metallic sheens like Violet Purple Shimmer and Pale Yellow Iridescent Silk Organza The slip dress, in various flowing fabrics of silk, blends and slinky synthetics like rayon, will also feature some of summer’s trending elements like floral prints – Black/White Floral ChallisBlack Floral ChallisIvory Floral Silk Chiffonpastels – Blush Pink CrepePeach Silk Crepe de ChineBaby Blue Crinkled Silk ChiffonPink/Blue Silk Crepe de ChineSalmon Pink Satin Charmeuse, and bright pinks – Lipstick Pink Crepe

4. The Sporty Jersey Dress

SportyJerseyDress

A casual, athletic aesthetic is a major summer trend, and in terms of dresses this translates into sleeveless sheath styles in lightweight cotton/lycra jersey knits like Black Jersey Knit especially with thigh-high side slits.

The “athletic luxe” trend also brought the return of the super comfortable sweatshirt dress in thicker, yet soft and breathable, 100% cotton jersey knits like the Charcoal Grey Jersey Knit The sweatshirt dress will be seen in mini skirt lengths with short, three-quarter length, or long sleeves.

FullSkirt

5. The Flirty Full Skirt

In lengths ranging from maxi to mini, full skirts will be seen flouncing around the legs of style mavens this summer in a wide range of shapes. The summer 2014 version of full skirts will be made in structured, A-line shapes with Black Tulle underlays, and also flowing styles with sheer overlays like accordion pleated Black Chiffonblack rosette tulleand black floral lace.

 Post from Fashion Fabrics Club – http://blog.fashionfabricsclub.com/top-five-summer-dresses-2014/#sthash.4xSOJ792.kLtEK02C.dpuf

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Flint and Tinder – Menswear Made-In-USA Brand

Introducing Flint and Tinder, a casual, high-quality menswear brand with a mission,

“A battle cry: Not everything should be disposable. Companies have systematically lowered your expectations to the point where it’s hard to know what to expect anymore. But while they’re busy off-shoring, out sourcing and generally making things as cheaply and quickly as possible… it ends here.”

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Comfortable, cool clothing with small but beautiful stylistic detailing, Flint and Tinder provides quality and fashionable looks that are exclusively made in America.

crewneck sweatshirt

 

The 10-year hoodie is a winning product. For $99 this comfortable, unisex zip-up comes in a variety of colors and is backed by a 10 year guarantee, complete with free mending.

hoodies

 

Kudos to Flint and Tinder for being a responsible brand, and being a leader in the slow fashion movement.

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Letter From the Editor — Finding Fashion, East x West

An inquiry from a fellow fashion blogger sparked this next series of posts from I.F. Content Director, Kelly Sullivan (thanks again fashionablepostulations).

A fellow fashion theory junkie was asking about the fashion scene in California, and how fashion theory as a discipline is studied and structured in California academia. In answering this question, I realized how unique my position is (as a frequent traveller between the coasts and writer of fashion in both areas) in being able to identify differences and make comparisons between fashion systems on either side of the country.
 
Over the next few weeks I will be discussing and analyzing fashion enterprises located in various parts of the U.S. coastline including: Northern California, Southern California, The Greater Boston Area, and Manhattan. Starting with the places I’ve lived and moving to the ones I’ve only visited. If you have any specific questions you wish for me to address, please me sure to contact me. I am going to start with Northern California, since this is my current location (for the next 4 days that is).
 
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Northern California is paradise; I dare you to find any current or past resident that would say otherwise. Between the valley, the mountains, and the bay area, all geographic typographies are within driving distance. This might be why there is an air and attitude in Nor Cal of quaint familiarity and unspoken kinship that I have yet to find anywhere else. Getting a genuine smile from a passerby on the street is not out of the ordinary, nor is striking up the occasional conversation with a stranger waiting in line at the organic farm stand. Those happy California cows we are always hearing about can be found roaming free range in the vast rolling hills of Nor Cal, spending their days in the fresh outdoors, eating hearty grass and occasionally getting into the road causing a minor back up along the gorgeous, winding Highway 1 that runs along the Pacific sea coast.
 
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The people are laid back and use silly slang like “hella” and “jenky” and enjoy a 4:20 culture that is vibrant, booming, and unabashed. The superficial feel that is often found in high profile fashion cities is nonexistent in Nor Cal. In fact, instead of focusing on exclusivity and a “trickle-down” approach to fashion (the idea that the “fashion elite”, celebrities, fashion houses, designers, and style icons introduce fashions to society which are then adopted by the masses), the Northern California fashion system is more interested in benefitting the entire network – of which is defined at and compromised of not only those buying and interpreting fashion (i.e. the consumer), but also those designing it, selling it, as well as those producing it.
 
 
 
 
 
I truly admire the way this area thinks about, reflects on, and reacts to the consequences of fashion, from all perspective, and believe it should be looked to as a model for implementing positive and successful fashion systems. Stay tuned for a more magnified look into Northern California as I discuss and analyze this underrepresented, yet forward-thinking fashion area with a thicker lens.
 
Xo,
K
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What is Fashion Theory?

When I tell people what I do, it often takes quite a bit of explanation. I wanted to comment on what Fashion Theory is, and what it means to me.

The funny thing about fashion theory is that everyone has their own take on what it is, what it means to study and research it, and what words to use to describe it. As a matter of fact, even the words used so often in the field; fashion, style, dress, costume, are still debated in terms of what they are referencing.

Maybe the easiest way to talk about fashion theory is by looking at what it is not; it is not a history of clothing, it is not trend forecasting, it is not celebrity fashion, it is not haute-couture catwalks or rodeo drive, it is not fabric analysis, it is not fashion advertising, it is not any one of these things in particular, yet it is the common thread of study of, well, all these things and more in a way where we can deduce meaning about a society, culture, nation, or any group of people.

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Fashion theory scholars, apply concepts from a variety of disciplines; cultural studies, women and gender studies, anthropology, queer theory, feminist theory, sociology, social psychology, in order to take the seemingly monotonous act of dressing oneself everyday and apply it to study everything from the micro levels of identity and self concept to the macro level of power relations, and the hierarchy of social systems.

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