Hardy Amies Seeks Buyers After Filing for Administration
LONDON — Hardy Amies, the couture house that once dressed Queen Elizabeth and forged ties with royals, world leaders and celebrities, has gone into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11.
Menzies, the administrators, said late Wednesday they were seeking a buyer for the U.K. operations and intellectual property rights, and were getting down to work immediately. Industry sources said they are confident a buyer will be found soon.
Fung Capital, the private investment vehicle of Victor and William Fung, who control the Hong Kong-based
Li & Fung Group, had acquired the struggling London fashion house Hardy Amies out of administration in 2008. At the time, Fung Capital bought assets including the Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell brands and the lease to the Hardy Amies store on Savile Row, as well as the group’s licensing agreements.
Hardy Amies’ turnover was thought to be around 4 million pounds, although it had been operating at a loss. Principals at Fung Capital could not be reached for comment at press time.
Hardy Amies is best known as the official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II for nearly 35 years. The house would later leave women’s wear behind to focus on men’s tailoring.
In 2012, on Fung Capital’s watch, it joined the London Men’s Fashion Week calendar and inked a deal with Bloomingdale’s to sell a secondary line. Two years later it opened a 3,778-square-foot flagship at 8 Savile Row.
In a cold climate for high- end tailoring and traditional men’s wear, however, Hardy Amies struggled like many others to keep up. It also suffered from the sea changes in retail: Unless stores offer a constant refresh, experiential shopping, and a compelling reason to buy, they risk falling out of consumers’ view.
In his heyday, Hardy Amies was a world-famous designer: In addition to dressing the Queen when she was still Princess Elizabeth, Amies went on to design costumes for Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He made suits for actors including the Hollywood ingénue Mildred Shay and Peter
Sellers and mixed with David Hockney, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Lord Snowdon.
Amies was also quick to leverage his fame: By the 1960s, he was designing everything from breakfast trays to bedspreads.
He would later become one of the first designers to build a licensing empire in men’s wear and to popularize relatively inexpensive ready-made suits in the U.K.
He had strong opinions about men’s wear, pushing the four-button, singlebreasted jacket in the Eighties and breaking the taboo of men wearing brown suits in town.
The brand is owned by Fung Capital, which bought it in 2008.
Looks from Hardy Amies’ men’s spring 2017 collection.