06/27/2012 12:44 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT

Sartorial elegance for Hardy Amies' debut Paris menswear show

PARIS - It was sartorial elegance at Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies' menswear debut show in Paris, with a pinch of fun for spring-summer 2013.

It was the company's first show in the French capital but the classic English designer is no newcomer. He has a storied past — from pre-War collaborations with royal photographer Cecil Beaton to being Queen Elizabeth II's dressmaker until his retirement in 1989. He died in 2003.

Now under the creative direction of Claire Malcolm, the house has not lost the eye on its history.

It was a dapper display of fitted suits for a veritable Englishman: broad rolled shoulders framing peaked and shawl lapels, cut in styles of bygone days.

Opening the show was a white Kent-cut suit, a double-breasted style popularized by the Duke of Kent and Edward Windsor, both uncles of the queen.

"It's nice to play on English silhouettes," Malcolm said backstage. "The Duke of Windsor was the most stylish man that ever lived."

In a nod to Amies' time in Special Operations during World War II, military uniform styles — classically rendered single-breasted and lean — filed past in shades of sand, khaki and drab olive.

"I am not saying war is glamorous," said Malcolm, "But it's amazing as Hardy was the only man during the war who still managed to get his suit tailored at Savile Row."

Blazers on knee-length cotton shorts and a multicolored knitted sweater added a dash of British tongue-in-cheek.

"That was the point," Malcolm added. "There's luxury cloth, but then it's frivolous. Hardy was so fun, so witty."


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