Thursday, 22 July 2010

Exhibition in right royal fashion

Not only is the House of Hardy Amies the pinnacle of stylish decoration, but it also has a wonderful energy and a lovely staff - with the potential to be the source of inspiration to aspiring Amies’ of the future. Moreover, to celebrate the first visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the house in July 1950 (when she was still a Princess), a new exhibition in the Archive Room at No.14 Savile Row features previously unseen sketches, documents, original pictures, letters and garments belonging to members of the House of Windsor. When I took a sneak preview, I found myself signing the visitors’ book directly after members of the Windsor family...

‘The House of Windsor in the House of Hardy Amies’ was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra at the end of June 2010 and can be visited until the end of the year, by appointment only. The exhibition features rare sketches of creations produced over 40 years of collaboration with HM The Queen as well as original and duplicate items made for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family – including HRH Princess Michael of Kent (a muse to Sir Hardy Amies), Lady Diana and the Duchess of York. A photograph of the house’s latest muse, Lord Frederick Windsor, is also on prominent display.

One of the main highlights is an incredible giant-sized album, in which Amies collected images and swatches of the various outfits worn by The Queen over a period spanning several decades. This provides a curiously fascinating history of royal dress though the years, as well as an insight into the media coverage of fashion and social reporting during the period.

Amies’ interest in maintaining the photo journal appeared to wane in the latter years, as evidenced by the increasing dearth of photographs in the oversized album...

and the replacement of carefully handwritten pen and ink italics beneath old fashioned cuttings from the daily press by haphazardly placed Post-it notes, atop picture stories from the likes of Hello Magazine.

What I really love about the Amies house is that’s it’s a place of real character. It also seems to reflect the essential character of its clientele – even HM The Queen: The warmth of her personality, along with genuine sincerity and kindness, positively shine out from the letters exchanged between Her Majesty and Sir Hardy Amies.

The house is full of quirky curiosities, like the collection of royal biscuit tins, similar to the ones available at ShopCurious, celebrating HM The Queen’s Coronation in 1953, royal weddings and other regal occasions. Apparently, the heirloom tins were used by Hardy Amies’ couture seamstresses to store their buttons and sewing threads – and now they take pride of place amongst the exhibits.

If you’re able to a secure a place on one of the exclusive private viewings, I’d highly recommend a visit to this extraordinary showcase of our national heritage. What’s more, this retro royal fashion extravaganza is bang on trend.

Are you?


worm said...

I want a giant book like that one!!! And a shelf full of royal biscuit tins!

Style Porn said...

Haha, I'll admit it took me a good 3 minutes to figure out what you meant by "HM the Queen." I'm a bit slow (aka American) on the uptake.

Is it just me or does the word biscuit make me hungry for a biscuit?

Engreida said...

Fascinating post, wow!

I just received a pair of couture sunglasses from your shop and I absolutely love them! Thank you so much, ShopCurious!