In 1945, Hardy Amies took possession of No. 14 Savile Row, a purchase funded by one of his first clients, the American actress Virginia Cherrill, later Countess of Jersey. One of the most original houses on the street, No. 14 never succumbed to the extensive alterations visited on its neighbours by their new tailoring tenants. Amies established his workshops in the basement and the attics, with the grand first floor salon acting as a fitting room and a place for presentations and receptions. The house was effectively returned to its original social structure, with tradesmen and seamstresses entering at the basement level and the imposing ground floor entrance, flanked by twin stone obelisks, reserved for clients.
The House, as it became known, was Amies’ personal fiefdom, a place to entertain as well as work. Serving his signature martinis – with a twist of orange, rather than lemon – he would welcome his select group of famous clients for fittings and events. Gregory Peck, David Hockney, even the Queen (who visited once or twice but preferred ‘home’ visits), would all come by, enjoying the grand sweeping staircase, the elaborate panelling and plasterwork and the unwavering attentions of Amies himself.
Jonathan Bell is architecture editor for Wallpaper*