Carola Long: Tradition still sells in Britain
Monday 29 March 2010
Hardy Amies has a distinguished history, but the challenge it faces is how to make a label known for dressing grand old ladies like the Queen, and which lost its way in the Noughties, relevant in the modern world. Fortunately, the fresh focus on men's tailoring should tap in to a renewed interest in British tradition.
Dress codes are a lot less strict than 1964, when Hardy Amies wrote his cult ABC of Men's Fashion, telling readers: "Always wear a collar and tie in town, even if it's by the sea, after six o'clock." Yet traditional Savile Row tailoring and attention to detail is enjoying a revival. While women's fashion moves quickly, with new trends emerging every six months or even faster, men's clothes are slower to change and style- conscious customers who might previously have bought an off-the-peg suit from a designer label are turning to bespoke suits as an investment.
At London Fashion Week last September, Hardy Amies hosted its first autumn/winter menswear show since the Sixties (Amies was actually the first label to hold a catwalk show for men) in its elegant premises at 14 Savile Row, along with collections by E Tautz and Gieves & Hawkes, who has made suits for David Cameron and Gordon Brown.
The event, part of the London Fashion Week menswear day, showed that British tailors are understandably keen to capitalise on this renewed interest in their craft. The definition of luxury has moved away from conspicuous designer labels and flashy details towards understated qualities such as a personalised fit and the finest fabrics, and Hardy Amies' tailoring should capitalise on this shift.
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