What is modern British men’s style? As a Savile Row brand, Hardy Amies comes from the home of tailoring and is informed by an impressive heritage. And yet, Sir Hardy himself was a new figure on the ‘Row’ in the Forties, not encumbered with years of historical baggage.
With a reputation for wicked wit and design flair, he embraced the spirit of the times and played his part in the seismic changes that were taking place after the war.
During the Sixties, a decade characterised by a cultural revolution in which the established codes of British society were challenged and blurred, Sir Hardy championed youth, saying, “As regards taste and styles, I am not sure that the young man today does not know more than his elders.” He also democratized the idea of style, promoting ready-to-wear for men; he stated: “I feel that some of the success I have achieved in designing clothes for men… is because I have been able to become a bridge between men of the established classes and those who shop in the High Street.”
In 1964, his influential ABC of Men’s Fashion was published, a style guide that established his credentials as a fashion expert and opinionated arbiter of good taste.
Although Sir Hardy is himself no longer with us, his spirit lives on in the collection that today still bears his name. And arguably, the second decade of the twenty-first century is seeing developments in British lifestyle that in many ways echo those that Sir Hardy was catering to some fifty years ago.
Today, Britain – and London in particular – is genuinely cosmopolitan in terms of the people and cultures it embraces. In terms of men’s style, there is an interplay between the generations, between town and country, between heritage and technology, between tailoring and casualwear, which means British style for men is more fluid and dynamic now than at any time before. Hardy Amies reflects this by making smart, functional menswear that is as at home in Mayfair as it is in Dalston. The look is modern and stylish, without being overtly ‘designed’.
As Sir Hardy said, “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”