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Shopwatch: Hardy Amies

Hardy Amies’ ready-to-wear store on Savile Row offers a carefully crafted lifestyle experience, inspired by London and cherry picking the best of British design.

The concept behind Hardy Amies’ flagship is a love letter to London. “We want to talk about what London is now, not what it was,” explains design director Mehmet Ali. “The store draws its identity from the city itself.”

A year in the planning, the 1,151 sq ft single-level store opened on September 8 at 8 Savile Row, which was previously occupied by men’s tailoring business Bernard Wetherill. This was linked to Kilgour, the men’s tailor that is adjacent at number 5. Amies, who was the Queen’s official dressmaker from 1955 to 1990, set up his couture business at number 14 in 1945, and this remains the home of the brand’s bespoke tailoring. In the late 1950s Amies was one of the first couturiers to licence his menswear, through a tie-up with national tailoring chain Hepworths.

In May 2001, two years before Amies died aged 93, the business was sold to Luxury Brands Group.

It fell into administration in 2008, before being bought by current owner, Hong Kong-based Fung Capital, part of Li & Fung, which also owns Kilgour and Gieves & Hawkes at number 1 Savile Row.
While unable to comment on the shopfit investment, Hardy Amies has paid a lot of attention to bespoke details, using distinctive materials sourced from the capital such as ceramic tiles manufactured for the walls of London Underground stations, industrial iron grates and salvaged concrete.

Working alongside London-based Universal Design Studio, the storefit is a hybrid of own-brand ready-to-wear (60% of the offer) and a carefully selected range of lifestyle goods, footwear and accessories brands (the remaining 40%), all UK-made. Steve Davies, formerly a buyer for premium indie Present in Shoreditch, assisted with the selection.

Despite exterior renovation taking place on buildings on Hardy Amies’ east side of Savile Row, the store’s large sheet glass windows are still visible from the pavement. The right window displays four mannequins in autumn 14 jackets, shirts and trousers, ranging from £1,215 to £2,685 for a complete outfit (as shown at London Collections: Men in June), styled with Hardy Amies x Grenson shoes (£450 to £495).

The left window reflects the lifestyle concept in store. The display is pared down to two mannequins again clad in jackets, shirts, rolled-up chinos and New Balance trainers (£1,335 and £1,775 are the total costs of the two looks), making room for a reading area in which a small black stool sits beside an Anglepoise lamp alongside a selection of magazines including The Rake and Man About Town.

The entrance is framed on the outside by two potted ficus fig trees. Similar trees are dotted around the store, a conscious decision to introduce an element of London’s green space.

Through the doors the shopper encounters two mannequins styled with New Balance trainers (£100 to £120) and Whitehouse Cox tote bags (£265). Two out of the six mannequins positioned around the store, they stand on a bespoke concrete paving slab.

The slabs and tables are a textural contrast to the distressed parquet herringbone floor, which has been stripped back from dark brown to a dusky grey.

For the walls, wood panelling is reimagined in carved Portland stone, chosen to reflect a modern twist on the traditional Mayfair environment. Above, the ceiling is exposed to reveal a network of sockets and cables that connect the different spotlights, all painted in charcoal grey.

The left of the store is filled with a concrete slab dedicated to homewares and grooming. Products include Dr Harris & Co soap (£12), Abbeyhorn horn-crafted spoons (£5) and Falcon enamelware (£5 to £19). On the wall, white shelves with integrated down lights illuminate a mix of Brooks bicycle saddles (£90), New Balance trainers and Whitehouse Cox bags.

To the left a limestone cash desk doubles as a bar serving Dalston Cola and Real Lemonade by east London’s Dalston Cola Company. Customers can also view their purchases in detail under a 1950s light reclaimed from a hospital. Behind the cash desk a standout shelf showcases a selection of Hardy Amies eyewear (£180 to £310).

To the right of the interior, raised concrete slabs present quirky curios including Merchant & Mills measuring tape (£5), alongside Hardy Amies’ silk and cotton/linen handkerchiefs (£35 to £40). Combining mirrors and an industrial grate, the central slab mixes Red Maps’ guides of London (£7) with Hardy Amies’ Japanese shuttleloom woven check shirts (£175).

Across the store the clothing hangs on wrought-iron rails. Above these are white, downlit shelves and on the floor below is positioned a slab of concrete. Both the shelves and concrete slabs showcase accessories.
Following the rails along the right-hand wall, the garments become more formal. Key pieces include a melangé navy pea coat with contrast monogrammed leather collar (£595) and a French navy Prince of Wales check suit (£595), woven in the UK.

There are two footwear areas located on the left and back walls. The left is dedicated to the Hardy Amies x Trickers collaboration (£360 to £495), while boots and brogues from newly launched label Block & Last (£595 to £695) are showcased at the back. The Hardy Amies x Grenson shoe collection is displayed on mannequins and beneath the clothing rails. For ease of trying on shoes a grey day bed takes a central position, alongside two chairs, a bespoke concrete table and freestanding Anglepoise lamp.

Tucked away in the left corner is a suiting and eveningwear area. Here, wrought-iron rails give way to chunkier shelves in the style of an open wardrobe.

These shelves display luxury items such as a monogrammed tuxedo (£795) and matching slippers (£250), woven in silk and wool. A table hosts cufflinks (£55 to £80) set on a cracked enamel surface, made from the same material as London tube signs.

A pewter grey carpet leads into a changing room and private toilet. Behind a mirrored door, the luxurious fitting room contains an armchair, table and a bespoke three-fold lighted mirror. The second changing room is concealed behind a wall next to the Trickers footwear area.

Bold in its concept and execution, the store hits its brief as a space for the ‘modern traditionalist’ located on one of London’s most famous streets. It’s a branding statement for the new owner’s vision for Hardy Amies, an iconic British brand that made its name in womenswear but now has a menswear focus.

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