Things I have learned in the past three days- Amies (Hardy) – Amie
You learn something new everyday apparently:
In the back and beyond of -or in the beginning or my “working” career I was a temp for the fashion industry in London. One particular job of work was for a receptionist for the Hardy Amies-( Ready to Wear) Salon
I was chosen from other temps because of my diction and lack of noticeable “dialect” also the “ready to wear salon” was trying to cash in on the “youth market “ of London’s swinging 60’s. My first morning ( being new to the world of fashion and only being back in London from Canada a short while I had no idea the hierarchy of the London fashion scene and who was who ( Hardy Amies was the designer to the Queen) . I made the mistake of answering the first phone call ( reading from the “script” I had been given )
Good Morning Hardy AMY Ready to Wear – May I be of assistance?
Within mere seconds of my first call- my outer room filled with models , managers ( even the cutters) and then this very tall elegant older gentleman- whom I was soon to find out was Hardy AMIES presented himself– that is the only way I can describe him he “presented his presence into the lobby”.
He did not talk directly to me – you could feel the cold annoyance permeating from him though. My 17 years and the invincibility of youth did not come to my aid- I half rose out of the chair ( which was uncomfortable – I believe on purpose so that your back was straight and anyone coming into reception was met without a slouch.) not knowing whether to run or curtsy.
I was lucky ( I think) not to be instantly dismissed. A Mr. Seth spoke up for me -I know had I been in the Haute Couture salon – well I wouldn’t ever had been hired for that salon- I was not elegant, tall , swanlike or talked with the proverbial marble in one’s mouth ( and that was the criteria for their receptionist) I know even if I had been all those things I would have been thrown out unceremoniously.
As it stood I was given a 2nd chance and I remained the receptionist through the “showing season” – ah the tales I could tell…. and then I moved on to the recording industry.
As I was locked in my self- inflicted confinement last evening I was surprised to learn this man who scared me to sit straight had actually served in WW2 and had run a spy network and all sorts of daring plans to deal with Nazi collaborators-
The Queen’s dressmaker Sir Hardy Amies was yesterday named as one of the men who helped to plan the murder of dozens of Nazi collaborators in Europe towards the end of the Second World War.
Mr Darlow said: “When we went to see Hardy Amies, he said ‘sorry, old chap, I can’t remember a thing about it.'” He said Sir Hardy would have nothing to feel ashamed about. “Organising the assassination of Nazi collaborators across Europe was an act of patriotism. I admit, though, that it is hard to reconcile the Queen’s dress designer with this.”
At the out break of World War II, with his language experience Amies was called up to serve in the Special Operations Executive. Amies suspected that SOE’s commander Major General Colin Gubbins did not regard a dressmaker as suitable military material, but his training report stated:
“This officer is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest. He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease.
I was shocked as I watched the program and fascinated but considering he always knew what exactly was happening in both salons within seconds of events I think he probably used the tools of the trade from his war experience in his business. ( explains a lot) And he certainly wasn’t precious in appearance when he presented himself in the Ready to Wear Salon- I wasn’t the only one sitting up straight and that went for the clients as well as the staff. 🙂
I also learned from my stint in his salon – presentation is key – and the first person you deal with is just as important as any CEO or CFO.
I have also learned :
Even if your eyes are red and sore with crying everyday for these many months.
Your face is puffy and the wrinkles and lines of care are etched deeper into a sagging skin-
Your limbs no longer limber, you walk slower , and trail behind – that the food of comfort has added to an already plump frame.
Your hair, no longer shiny bright and well groomed
It matters not you are without makeup – you are not dressed to flatter- your manicure decidedly lacking –
No, it matters not to this little child who also makes his presence known loudly and joyfully at your arrival- because, all things aside he sees the patient playmate – a playmate and one who has time to enter the world of make-believe and throw snowballs and helps fill up his trucks with the cold white stuff and makes hot chocolate – you are beautiful once again in the eyes of youth .