In the last couple of weeks I finally watched Phantom Thread and coincidentally stumbled upon the autobiography of Sir Hardy Amies, a fashion institution of many facets, from couturier to the Queen to the man who pioneered the democratization of menswear and author of the ABC of Men’s Fashion.
Some more explanation. And coincidences.
Haute couture had just showed its marvels in Paris, after sharing an image of a Schiaparelli gown somebody told me that haute couture is “for old ladies” and this story how a millennial got himself closer to the world of couture.
Here’s what I learned. You can take notes, if we get one more couture lover it’s only extra good we do to the world, nothing bad will happen.
“Few things bother me more than hearing the sound of a zipper closing in the final stages of a [theatrical] piece: usually, it comes from the bag of a woman whose intention is to communicate her husband that she wants to leave and get a taxi before anyone else.”
I mean, just in case you were a lover of bags with zippers, seriously.
“I adore dark chocolate only with a sweet filling. If it were for me, I would ban milk chocolate illegal.”
I knew it. It all started when I was 12 and we spent a summer in Lausanne and I developed this sweet tooth for dark chocolate with raspberry filling. I must have been a couturier in one of my past lives.
On gold chains.
“It think it was Michael Roberts, the journalist, who defined the stacks of gold chains popular years ago ‘status identifier’. Personally, I don’t believe that gold chains enhance the status of a man, of any age.”
“I find all plastic [gardening] utensils utterly horrible, to the touch and to the sight.”
“Designing garments, since 1934, gave me the greatest pleasure”
(when you have a passion, stick to it, ignore the naysayers, jealous and detractors)
“Tweed, first of all”
The sleeves in the jacket must be narrow
The waist is essential (this is something Oscar de la Renta always said)
For all the (single) ladies: “Often the ladies needed to be reminded not to wear jackets that fit too tight.”
And for all the men out there: ''I hate strapless bodices, for example, because any man looking at one thinks, 'How does she keep the thing up?' ''
“The simplest suits turned out to be the most successful.”
This makes all the sense, from a man who believed that “A man should look as if he bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”
“It’s really minimal the number of women that look good in a miniskirt. Too many women have big knees. Let’s not forget that miniskirts are still around us: perfect to go dancing, when we are younger. Or go to the beach, for the less young.”
“I love thinking at clothing as not something that is worn, but something that is used.”
On being a snob.
''Being a snob simply means that I think the top is the best.''