The Royal Warrant Holders Association
Estimate: £400 - £500
ca. US$546 - US$683
Price realised: £460
The Royal Warrant Holders Association Medal awarded to the fashion designer Hardy Amies, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel while organising sabotage assignments with the Special Operations Executive in Belgium during the Second World War and subsequently built a hugely successful fashion label, his designs finding favour with the young Princess Elizabeth who granted him a Royal Warrant on her accession to the throne Royal Warrant Holders Association Medal, E.II.R., 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal (Hardy Amies) nearly extremely fine £400-£500 The Royal Warrant Holders Association Medal awarded to the fashion designer Hardy Amies, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel while organising sabotage assignments with the Special Operations Executive in Belgium during the Second World War and subsequently built a hugely successful fashion label, his designs finding favour with the young Princess Elizabeth who granted him a Royal Warrant on her accession to the throne Royal Warrant Holders Association Medal, E.II.R., 1977 Silver Jubilee Medal (Hardy Amies) nearly extremely fine £400-£500 Edwin Hardy Amies was born on 17 July 1909 at Maida Vale, London and was educated at Latymer Upper School and Brentwood. It was suggested that he should work for a scholarship to Cambridge, but Amies wanted to become a journalist. His father arranged a meeting with R. D. Blumenfeld, the editor of the Daily Express, who told him: ‘We don’t want academics in the journalistic world. We want men of international culture. Send him abroad to learn French and German. Make him work.’ After spending three years in France and Germany - learning the languages and working for a customs agent, an English School and a wall tile factory - Amies returned to England and became a weighing-machine salesman for W & T Avery. It was his mother’s contacts in the fashion world together with his own facility with the written word that secured him his first job in fashion. His vivid description of a dress, written in a letter to a retired French fitter and brought to the attention of the owner of the Mayfair couture house Lachasse, made a strong impression. The wearer of the dress was the owner’s wife. In early 1934, with no previous experience, he succeeded the designer manager, Digby Morton, who had left Lachasse to set up his own house. By the time war intervened, he was designing the whole collection. At the outbreak of the Second World War, with his language experience, Amies was called to serve in the Special Operations Executive. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant from Officer Cadet Training Company on to the British Army General List on 18 May 1940, and was transferred from the General List to the Intelligence Corps on 15 July 1940. Amies suspected that S.O.E.’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’. Posted to Belgium, Amies worked with the various Belgian resistance groups and adapted names of fashion accessories for use as code words, while he organised sabotage assignments and arranged for agents to be parachuted with radio equipment behind enemy lines, into the Ardennes. Amies rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, but outraged his superiors in 1944 by engaging famed photographer Lee Miller and setting up a Vogue photo shoot in Belgium after D-Day. In 1946, he was created an Officer of the Belgian Order of the Crown on 17 September 1948 by the prince regent of Belgium. Amies was an integral part of Operation Ratweek, an assassination project developed by the S.O.E. to eliminate double agents and Nazi sympathisers in Belgium. In 2000, a BBC 2 documentary entitled Secret Agent named Amies as one of the men
search in upcoming auctions
Search for your treasure now in upcoming auction catalogues of European auction houses!
Search in past auctions
Search in our archive with more than 27 million auctioned lots!
search in upcoming auctions
Search now in our artist database!