Amies, (Edwin) Hardy 1909-2003
AMIES, (Edwin) Hardy 1909-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born July 7, 1909, in London, England; died of a heart attack March 5, 2003, in Langford, England. Fashion designer and author. Amies was known as the designer who made clothes for British royalty, and for almost four decades he created clothes for Queen Elizabeth II. Educated in Essex, England, he worked as a trainee at W. and T. Avery Ltd., a weighing machine manufacturer in Birmingham, where he was a traveling salesman. Amies' entry into the fashion industry happened by chance when the wife of the owner of the sportswear company Lachasse read a dress description he had written. She was so impressed that he was offered a job as managing designer in 1934. Although he knew nothing about clothing design, Amies took the job because he hated being a salesman and quickly learned the business. For four years he worked for Lachasse in London. After the onset of World War II he served in Britain's Intelligence Corps, an assignment he was given because he was fluent in French. He was made a training and recruiting officer in 1941 and rose to head of the Belgian section in 1944; he was involved in the infiltration of Belgian agents into Germany late in the war. When he returned to London in 1945 he opened his own clothing design store, Hardy Amies Ltd. It was not long after that, in 1951, that Princess Elizabeth asked him to design some clothes for her, and in 1955 he officially became dressmaker to the queen, an association that would last until about 1993. Amies sold his company in 2001, but remained its life president until his death. In addition to designing clothes for the queen, he also created clothes for other royalty, such as the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, as well as for celebrities, both male and female. Although some critics have labeled Amies' designs for the queen as dowdy, he defended them as appropriate for the monarch. Amies is also credited for having a great influence on the 1960s menswear revolution, and his designs made a mark not only in England but also in the United States, Australia, and other countries around the world. For his services to the queen, Amies was made Companion of the Royal Victorian Order in 1977 and Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1989, among other honors. He was also the author of four books: Just So Far (1954), ABC of Men's Fashion (1964), Still Here: An Autobiography (1984), and The Englishman's Suit: A Personal View of Its History, Its Place in the World Today, Its Future, and the Accessories Which Support It (1994).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Fashion, 2nd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.
Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2003, p. B13.
New York Times, March 6, 2003, p. C13.
Times (London, England), March 6, 2003.
Washington Post, March 9, 2003, p. C11.
* indicates that a listing has been compiled from secondary sources believed to be reliable, but has not been personally verified for this edition by the author sketched.