Hardy Amies: A Dagenham Designer

Hardy Amies: A Dagenham DesignerThe life and times of British fashion designer and tailor Hardy Amies.

Our exhibition celebrated the life and work of the world famous couturier and dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth II. It was part of a wider project, exploring Amies’ connection to the Becontree Estate, Dagenham, where his childhood home, the White House, has re-opened as a new public space for art and social activity.

Unknown to many, Amies spent his childhood in Dagenham, living nearby in the White House, an 18th century farmhouse, while his father was overseeing the building of the Becontree Estate – then the largest public housing project in the world.

Exhibits included elegant tailored couture, dresses designed for and worn by the queen, ready-made tailored menswear for the high street store Hepworths and costumes for Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clothing worn by Hardy Amies, most of which he designed himself, featured alongside photographs and letters from his childhood.

The exhibition was co-curated by Create London and Valence House Museum, with dress historian and curator Amy de la Haye. It ran at Valence House Museum, Dagenham until Sat 25 February 2017.

A programme of related events took place at the White House, Create’s new space for art and community activity, and Amies’ childhood home.

Oral History Training
Sat 14 January, 10am – 4pm at the White House
Learn how to record oral histories and the importance of archiving local stories.

Craft Workshop: Crochet
Tues 17 & Wed 18 January, 5pm – 7pm at the White House (2 session course)
Learn how to crochet with Tayla Chapman with designs inspired by Hardy Amies.

Jimmy’s Becontree History Tours
Sat 21 January, 11am – 12noon or 2pm to 4pm meet at the White House
History enthusiast Jimmy Ford will take you on a walk around the sites on the Becontree that were affected by WW2. Wrap up warm and bring your own tales of wartime Dagenham.

Craft Workshop: Needle Felt
Thurs 26 January, 2pm – 4.30pm at the White House
Learn how to needle felt and contribute to a tapestry with Tracey Wilton.

Film Screening: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Fri 27 January, 7pm – 9.30pm at the White House

Furniture Making at Blackhorse Workshop
Mon 30 January – Wed 1 February, 10am-4pm (3 day course)
Beginners woodwork to carve an ornamental piece for a wooden trunk.

Tour of William Morris Gallery & Print Making Workshop
Mon 20 or Thurs 23 February, 10am-4pm
Take a look around the gallery and learn about the heritage designer’s ethos, as well as making your own prints using craftfoam.

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.