Israeli artist Ori Gersht's video of a vase of flowers exploding in slo-mo made a curious intro to the Paris debut of Hardy Amies' menswear. Apparently there was something in the Zabriskie Point violence of the piece that helped creative director Claire Malcolm connect Hardy's life (including wartime adventures that are the stuff of spy movies) with his art—or at least his craft as a designer. Grace under pressure? That, at least, would have co-joined the ever-calm and charming Malcolm with the long-gone man whose name is on the label.
By a curious coincidence, the show took place in the same space where, a few years ago, Carlo Brandelli resuscitated Kilgour, another Savile Row heritage label. The brilliance of that particular effort blazed all too briefly before some cockamamy business decisions deep-sixed it. You could certainly wish for a happier ending for Malcolm, especially after the collection she showed today, with its quietly luxe restraint. The show was bookended by white double-breasted suits—one for day, one for evening—which was a clear and clever way for Malcolm to set out her stall as a mean tailor. Between the two, she mulled over men's clothes as Amies himself might have worn them, with a military inflection during the Second World War, as a peacock in peacetime. If knits tucked into pleated shorts looked a little sissy, that was a slip in the styling, which otherwise maintained a cool, sartorial precision. One might have hoped for a little more rub (Amies himself was notoriously contrary), but the eye-popping op effect of one dinner jacket hinted at the delightful excesses Malcolm may be capable of as her confidence grows.