June 15, 2014 London
Not only did Haines create the Hardy Amies geometric monogram (used to great effect here on embossed leather holdalls), but his decidedly West Coast aesthetic also translated into a balmy color palette of soft chambray blues, coral, pistachio, and egg-yolk yellow (think organic free range). For Spring, it was most notably seen in a zip-front leather blouson and a yachting parka inspired by Haines and Amies' sailing trips along the Pacific coast.
Despite the Hardy Amies' HQ being located in an august address on Savile Row, looking at the label's archives has actually allowed Ali to be a little more iconoclastic than his more traditional contemporaries. "People assume that this was a house in the traditional bespoke mold, but it's the setting rather than the product, as Amies menswear has always been about ready-to-wear," he said. This idea led to a largely semi-structured jacket collection, but in shorter proportions than the standard British block (Amies might have sniffily referred to them as bum freezers). There was also a longer double-breasted bridge jacket—a derivation of the peacoat, which, according to Ali, was only worn by officers of sufficient seniority to navigate a ship.
Maritime history aside, Amies' home ranges from the seventies were also referenced, in woven chevrons and an upended diamond-grid motif that was subtle in chambray but less so at the brighter ends of the palette, despite being executed in hopsack canvas and linen-silk mixes. In fact, those pieces went against another of Amies' sayings, that a man should look as if he bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgot all about them. These clothes were anything but forgettable, a circumstance that may owe something to the fact that Ali cut his design teeth at Reiss, the premium High Street retailer, and is well aware that a young metropolitan consumer is very comfortable investing in color and pattern as opposed to a generic charcoal two-piece. Ali is entering his fourth season for the house, and he was pleased to report that the brand is continuing to make headway in taste-making stores worldwide for the first time in its almost-seventy-year history.