25 September 2011

Hardy Amies SS12: An Englishman in Venice

Courtesy of Hardy Amies
"I can't work out what is about Italian men that makes them look both stylish and relaxed. How can I steal a bit of their elegance?" asked The Mr Porter Post on menswear day during LFW. The answer was "Let's remember that many Italian men want to dress like an idealised Englishman". –What if we could find out at Saville Row?, must have asked herself Claire Malcolm, the creative director of Hardy Amies.
Malcolm only joined the famous tailoring house last season for her first collection –f/w 2011– but had already managed to position Hardy Amies at the front of the leading menswear London names. For her SS12 collection Claire took the Englishman on a trip to Venice. Not that of overpriced gelatto, crowds of tourists and clichés but the Venice of enlightenment that was a melting pot of cultures.

It was as if a Saville Row regular had travelled to Italy and there he had adapted his wardrobe to suit the new climate, even the style. He'd cut short his suit trousers for the day and cropped his evening ones to stay fresh. The cuffed hems gave them an elegant touch that makes them apt for meetings and such.
The tops stay more true to the tradition. Two-button blazers accompanied by matching waistcoats or lightweight double-chested jackets. For the evening, jacquard blazers in subtle colourful patterns inspired by Roman mosaics.
When avoiding the tie, the Hardy Amies man opts for a more relaxed neckerchief look that keeps the look interesting and dressed up. The shoes remain classic in shape –Oxfords, brogues and tasselled loafers in a super elegant "gold leaf" leather inspired on the Byzantine influence of Venice. For the evening the Oxford shoes come in patent leather to match the silk shirts that finish the looks.

In only two seasons the House of Hardy Amies has created a line of ready-to-wear that is more than worthy to be shown at the Pitti trade show and the Milan catwalks alongside Trussardi, Ferragamo and the rest of the houses we worship. It's young and cool but extremely refined and well made. If I could only choose one house to dress myself next summer, this would be it.

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