Jun 27, 2012
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Savile Row tailor kicks off Paris menswear shows

Jun 27, 2012

Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies whisked its sharp suits with a twist from London to Paris on Wednesday, kicking off the French capital's five-day menswear shows for spring-summer.

The British firm, whose founder Sir Hardy Amies is best known for dressing Queen Elizabeth II up until his retirement in 1989, was making its debut at the Paris show, taking place hot on the heels of Milan.

House designer Claire Malcolm said the spark for the show was an anecdote involving Sir Hardy, who got into trouble while serving as a wartime Special Operations Executive in Europe for conducting a fashion shoot for Vogue.

She built the menswear look around the pre- and post-war periods, starting with double-breasted suits and pleated pants meant to evoke "the frivolity and glamour" of the 1920s and 1930s.

Then came a string of more serious-minded, uniform styles, cut from wool-twist silk in tones of khaki, sand and olive inspired by the aesthetic of World War II itself.

Followed more relaxed silhouettes -- a nod to the rise of casual menswear after the war -- such as tailored shorts, cut at mid thigh and worn with little jackets, lightweight striped sweaters or, daringly, a bright pink polo shirt.

"I am not saying war is glamorous, rather I am interested in the idea of a man who finds himself in different circumstances," Malcolm explained.

Earlier the German designer Tillmann Lauterbach -- who is also artistic director of menswear for the Chinese fashion label JNBY -- showed a confident and highly wearable collection that also played on the idea of the uniform.

But compared to Hardy Amies's sharp edges here the look was free-flowing, with tapered pants, round-collared shirts and jackets in luxurious silks, linens and velvets in cream, black, navy or khaki with flashes of rust and turquoise.

The designer, who was raised on the party island of Ibiza, said the look was inspired by a trip Andy Warhol made to China in the 1980s, blending a New York post-punk aesthetic with the clean shapes and straight lines of Chinese dress.

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