Oliver Spencer is perhaps the quintessential Dandy Dad clothing label. His clothes are designed to be functional AND fashionable – perfect for the sartorial stay-at-home father. Yes, he may have committed the cardinal sin of releasing a line of lounge joggers, but at least they come in a cotton and wool blend, which gives them a beautiful textured appearance; so I’d feel comfortable feeding Martha breakfast whilst wearing a pair (obviously never to be worn outside of the house).
Suffice to say, his A/W17 catwalk show was something I’d looked forward to for a while. Before I try and describe the collection, I managed to grab a quick Q&A with the man himself – a self-taught tailor who rose from running a stall in Portobello Market to become one of the leading lights of UK menswear.
First of all, for those of my readers that aren’t familiar with the label, what’s the ethos behind Oliver Spencer?
Detail and quality. Essentially we’re a lifestyle brand that touches on fashion.
What was your inspiration for this new collection?
The main inspiration for the collection was music, particularly The Fall track ‘Lost In Music’ that we used as the soundtrack. Music has influenced me for quite some time and the collection feels tough and, as I like to say, tough boys like to wear pink as well!
You’re a self-taught tailor, can anybody with an eye for style do the same?
The places that I like to be the most are on the shop floor and the factory floor. Provided you’re willing to work very hard, it is possible.
My blog is about how to stay stylish despite the many challenges of fatherhood. What key menswear pieces would you say are essential for any gentleman’s wardrobe?
Good shoes. Start from the bottom up, and right now it’s all about a roll neck. I’m rotating at least three.
Are they any particular fabrics to stick with or to avoid?
I’m not a fan of manmade fibres, unless they’re used in technical outerwear.
As a fan of your accessories, I was mortified to see that there aren’t any pocket squares currently on your website! Why is this, and please tell me there’s a new range coming soon?
Yes, they’re coming soon, don’t worry! They’ve just been incredibly popular this season and have completely sold out.
Finally, as a father yourself, what the greatest piece of parenting advice you’ve been given that you’d like to share?
Gaffer tape around their mouths! It works really well when my three boys becoming unbearable (just kidding). The key is patience I think.
So, on to the collection itself. After a weekend of blagging my way into menswear shows and listening in on very earnest conversations had over canapés, I’m now quite well versed in fashion-speak! So here goes; Oliver’s collection featured a robust colour palette of autumnal, burnt orange and forest green, enhanced with contrasting tones of powder blue, blush pink and grey.
The whole collection was softened by deconstructed and washed fabrics including soft velvet, corduroy and wool with contrasting leather – just in case you were wondering.
Music for the main show:
The Fall – ‘Lost In Music’
Fat White Family – ‘Whitest Boy On The Beach’
New Order – ‘Temptation’
The Stranglers – ‘Walk On By’
Dubious loungewear aside, Oliver’s A/W17 collection was casual but never careless, smart yet distinctive. “Clothes to do things in” as Oliver himself says.