Sir Hardy Amies Died

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Kyrila Scully

Apr 15, 2001
South Florida
I just read in the Union Jack that Sir Hardy Amies, the Queen's dressmaker, passed away at the age of 93. Here are a few quotes attributed to him: "I hate strapless bodices, for example, because any man looking at one thinks, 'How...does she keep the thing up?'" "Nobody has ever been elegant in a strapless dress because it implies that you're making your bust work for you...overexposure of the body is not chic." He was knighted in 1989 and his clients included the Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson) and Princess Michael of Kent, as well as Richard Burton's widow, Sally. He was proud of being a snob. "Now it doesn't mean to say that you're unkind to the lower orders. Being a snob simply means that I think the top is the best; it means that I treasure high standards."

For your consideration,

Shane Kurup

Jul 31, 2000
Hi everyone-
Just a note to add about this point. I'de Never heard of Sir hardy until this post popped up, and last night, I was watching the news, and totally by chance- a story came up about him. After his death last month, it has been revealed that in a "past life" Amies was an SOE spy in occupied Belgium during the 2nd world war!
The report showed his file and everything- he could shoot!
In 1944 he was in vogue magazine modelling which the SOE heads in London were far from pleased about! From here, his designing career kicked off.
It's amazing the secrets people hide!
Imagine from going from shooting people to sewing dresses!
Just goes to show that History does hold some incredible secrets!

Mar 20, 2000
I followed not a jot of news while I was in England, other than the toppling of the Saddam statue, which I happened to catch only on a department store TV screen. So I am learning this news just now of the passing away of Sir Hardy Amies.

It will be of interest to this board that Sir Hardy Amies was a protege of Lady Duff Gordon. Amies came to know her only in her last days, after she had retired from couture, but through her influence, the young man gained some of his first positions in the garment industry. There was a less than amicable parting of the ways between the once-famous fashionista and the aspiring designer and he was not exactly kind to her in his first volume of memoirs, published in the 1950s.

I was in correspondence with Sir Hardy and his PR man, Peter Hope-Lumley (a nephew of Edward Molyneux, another Lucile alumna), over several years, beginning in 1993, following an introduction to the royal dressmaker by one of his clients, the late Dame Barbara Cartland, who had been, along with the late Queen Mother, among the last living Lucile customers.

To my knowledge, with Cartland's death in 1999, the Queen Mum's death last year, and now Amies' passing, there is no longer anyone else living who was associated professionally with Lady Duff Gordon or her fashion house, Lucile, Ltd. In fact, as far as I am aware, there are only three people alive today who actually knew her.

I am saddened at the news of Amies' death and grateful to Kyrila and Shane for drawing my attention to this. My last contact with Amies was about seven years ago, through his devoted secretary Jan Burke. I was following up on his offer to share his last memories of his former patroness. The letter I received in reply, on his 14 Savile Row shop letterhead, referred to an aborted and fateful date with Lucile to a party to which he had promised to escort her. One can imagine that she was not one accustomed to being kept waiting:

"...Her Ladyship was not made happy by my tardiness. Upon my entering the room she did not move from her perch by a garden window, but remained seated. I apologized but she did not seem to hear me. To her maid, standing by, she communicated her desire not to go out for the evening. I was not allowed another word but was shown to the door. As I turned to go, I caught sight of her face. She looked utterly bereaved. I had no idea my lateness could have injured her so. I never saw her again."

I remember tonight a kind man and all his helpfulness to me.

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