“Fantastic, fleeting geometrical patterns flickered in and out of existence as the glowing grids meshed and unmeshed.”
-Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Man’s natural desire to innovate and explore is exemplified in space travel. Aviation laid the foundations for man to travel beyond human boundaries: to seek out, expand and develop an understanding of what lies beyond.
It is this developmental journey that inspired Hardy Amies Creative Director Mehmet Ali’s spring summer 2016 collection, and one that similarly inspired Sir Hardy himself in 1968 when he designed the costumes for Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was being produced, author Arthur C. Clarke was developing the book concurrently and collaboratively. Kubrick, Clarke and Sir Hardy all worked as pioneers of science fiction culture, ahead of their time in trying and testing aeronautic depictions in their own creative interpretations to achieve a plausible and prophetic sense of futuristic timelessness.
Ali similarly challenges this juxtaposition between the practical and the conceptual. For SS16 functionality is key, inspired by high altitude aviation ‘G suits’, which are multi-layered for body temperature regulation.
Dry cotton seersuckers are reimagined in survival orange, aviation green and navy suiting, debuting an exclusive technical ‘filtration rib’ fabric. This allows the wearer comfort in hotter climates, a function imperative for summer tailoring.
Further aeronautic inspired outerwear includes a lung pocket blouson in navy parachute silk and a ballistic nylon hooded jacket in survival orange with zip through pockets. A utility coat in aviation green parachute silk is inspired by the vests worn by original high altitude test pilots; giving functional design and contemporary relevance in the modern man’s wardrobe. Signature aviator sunglasses with mirrored lenses and mottled tortoise shell frames complete the look.
Translucency runs throughout the collection reminiscent of the multi-layered light fabric ‘G suits’ worn in early aeronautic tests, which through their layered design externalise internal features. Mesh fabric is prominent for SS16 subtly showing the garments beneath, with highlights including a black single breasted suit, introducing a concept version of Ali’s signature unstructured tailoring.
A black mesh technical utility jacket with neon yellow bindings, adding a futuristic element to outerwear, is styled over a monochrome hounds tooth single-breasted suit, whilst a translucent optic white technical hooded training jacket in parachute nylon stands out with yellow fluro zip detailing. Again, styled over signature Hardy Amies tailoring, the look unites traditional masculine sartorial luxury with a technical directional aesthetic.
Ali takes translucency to an extreme with the introduction of ‘the grid’; a laser cut pattern of panels running throughout the collection from outerwear and evening wear to accessories. Pattern is drawn from the aesthetic of the pivotal scenes in Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the moment the protagonist is lost in the grid-like spacecraft control system.
Highlights include Hardy Amies signature mac in bonded cotton, reworked for SS16 to feature handapplied leather and suede geometric grid panels in black leather and amber suede. Accessories complement the outerwear bags showcasing the same laser cut grid technique.
The discovery of alien landscapes is the final theme Hardy Amies’ SS16 collection explores. Kubrick used recolored images of the earth to depict unfamiliar terrain. Ali has reimagined this concept, bringing it into the present day by transforming GPS satellite images into woven fabrics which featuring in tailoring and formal outerwear. The evening suit is the hero, featuring the bone jacquard terrain weave with buggy mesh lining internals.
Hardy Amies (8 Savile Row, London, W1S 3PE)