I hadn’t spent much time this London Fashion Week at the main show space at Somerset House – the big tent they plonk in the centre of that beautiful courtyard. I’d forgotten what a celebfest it was. As I queued, clutching my printed ticket to my breast, I stood amongst the melee of fashionistas waving their tickets in the air as celebrities were ushered inside, except for the gentlemanly Rick Edwards who politely told the PR girl batting her eyelids that he would queue like everybody else. Swoon.
Oliver Spencer A/W 2012 by Krister Selin
Inside, a frenzy of photographers took pictures of front-rowers and I couldn’t tell who anybody was, apart from remarking to Gareth that I thought I saw a glimpse of Alex Reid. We LOL’d as the show started.
Oliver Spencer is a bit of a maestro when it comes to exquisite tailoring. I’ve been a fan for a while but this was the first show I’d seen. Myself and Gareth had secured goodish seats at the beginning of the catwalk, and despite my reservations, we had a pretty good view of the action.
Spencer had taken his inspiration this season from 1970s art-house and the iconic persona of a young Lucien Freud. A wide spectrum of models appeared in the show, from tattooed hipsters to mature gents, each with their own cool kudos.
The show began with said tattooed hipster, who wore a deep red and grey luxury varsity-style jacket with contrast sleeves – a sartorial version of the current trend. Quintessential, English, well-tailored, an effortless fit – buzz words associated with the Oliver Spencer brand.
Next came more cropped wool coats in blues and greys, teamed with tapered trousers and capped-toe oxford shoes. I’m a huge fan of Spencer’s knitwear and this collection came up with the goods. Chunky rollnecks and big scarves worn over the shoulders had a hip retro feel without being fancy dress.
More jackets appeared, and one in particular – a sort of contemporary Fair Isle pattern in navy and white cut above the hip had me swooning more than I did at Rick Edwards‘ courteous approach to queuing. The tattooed hipster modelled it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few miffed models backstage because he seemed to have been selected to wear the most achingly cool outfits.
A selection of olive and brown jackets came towards the end with a more athletic look about them, worn with looser-fitting trousers. A plaid jacket, buttoned at the top only, was worn over a vibrant red shirt. Some jackets came with cross-over lapels in contrasting colours, worn with camel-coloured trousers. More varsity-style jackets appeared: it seems we’ll all be wearing contrast sleeves come September.
All photography by Matt Bramford
You’ll see from my previous menswear day posts that there are many designers pushing the boundaries of menswear with much whackier collections, but Spencer’s hip appeal with a strong British essence was a welcome break and one that will have sartorial gents begging for more.
1970s, A/W 2012, Alex Reid, Athletic, AW12, british, English, Fair Isle, Gabriel Ayala, knitwear, Krister Selin, London Fashion Week, Lucien Freud, Matt Bramford, menswear, Oliver Spencer, Rick Edwards, Rollnecks, Somerset House, tailoring, Tattoos, turban
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