One of the most prominent British menswear designers of his generation, Oliver Spencer (previously reviewed by The Style Examiner) unveiled what was undoubtedly one his most accomplished collections in recent years during the inaugural London Men’s Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2013. Shown on the fourth floor of an abandoned building in central London that used to house the sorting office for Royal Mail, Spencer filled a room with an attentive audience of journalists, buyers and a number of celebrities from the sports and entertainment arenas.
The collection was inspired by the work of the twentieth century British painter Ben Nicholson and Russian Modernist and Constructivist art in the way that it layered geometric designs and shapes in blocks of colour and tailoring. Muted colours typical of Nicholson’s paintings and the work of Russian graphic designers and artists of the early twentieth century such as grey and taupe coexisted with brighter variations and new shapes were introduced to the delight of viewers.
As expected of Spencer, rough cottons and linens, strapped waist lines, contrasting corozo buttons, and stylish footwear abounded. The designer’s favourite and regular pieces, such as the unlined Portland jacket, the Runswick stone gilet and the Fisher jacket also made an appearance. However, unexpected details such as trousers tapered by buttons below the knee, single-pleated trousers, and new garments such as board shorts contributed to an elegant collection made vivid by a choice of bright hues such as azure blue, burgundy, olive green and burnt yellow.
If unexpected patterns such as graphic Aztec prints came across as a positive move for Spencer’s followers, it was the discreet patterns such as thin blue and white stripes and dark blue fabric with white speckles in coordinated shorts and shirts that The Style Examiner found the most successful. In footwear, new lace-less grain derby shoes and monk strap shoes also contributed to a more relaxed look than in previous seasons.