Sir Edwin Hardy Amies, KCVO (17 July 1909 - 5 March 2003), was a British fashion designer, best known for being the dress designer for HM Queen Elizabeth II.He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1974.
Born in London, he was the son of a civil servant and a saleswoman at a firm that made clothing for members of the Royal Courts. Amies was educated at Brentwood School, Essex, leaving in 1927.
Although his father wanted him to attend Cambridge University, Hardy trained as an English language teacher in Antibes, and then travelled to Europe, where he spent three years in France and then Bendorf, Germany learning the languages.
At the out break of World War Two, 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.||”|
Posted to Belgium, Amies adapted names of fashion accessories for use as code words, while managing some of the most murderous and ruthless agents in the field. Amies rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel,but outraged his superiors in 1944 by setting up a Vogue photo-shoot in Belgium post D-Day.In 1946, he was Knighted in Belgium, being a Named Officier de l'Ordre de la Couronne.