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"The way the system works now, you see the clothes, within an hour or so they're online, the world sees them. They don't get to a store for six months. The next week, young celebrity girls are wearing them on red carpets. They're in every magazine. The customer is bored with those clothes by the time they get to the store. They're overexposed, you're tired of them, they've lost their freshness".
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6.22.2017

Oliver Spencer

In this time of seasonal shifts and climactic uncertainties, it pays to check the ankle if you're trying to pin down what collection is being showcased during London's menswear collections. Socks spell Fall, a nude ankle Spring. Of course, an exposed tibia is par for the course down Milan way -but in England, they're rarely bared bar the warmer months, especially when their indication on a runway is implicit. There wasn't a single set of hosiery in Oliver Spencer's show for this collection. Why ? Because his naked ankles were doing double duty, alluding not only to this season but to the Med. He cited Capri as his inspiration -not the pant (thank heaven for small mercies, this being menswear, after all), but the island off Naples. Specifically the Casa Malaparte, a masterpiece of Italian modernist architecture built on a southeastern peninsula. It was the backdrop for much of Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film "Le mépris " starring Brigitte Bardot. What does that add up to ? Bare feet in brogues, sure, and a lot of easily cut, softly tailored, and lightweight summer clothes. Oliver Spencer cited the Fifties as an influence -although Casa Malaparte was conceived two decades earlier, and Godard didn't get his hands on it until a decade later. Nevertheless, the Fifties surrendered stylishly wide-cut suits in Aegean blue, ocher, or terracotta red, mixed with classic Madras checks and stubby linens, occasionally with a random top-stitch detail. It all managed the double duty of retro-leaning and seeming contemporary for today, for the wardrobe of a modern man. The natural question is, which modern man, precisely ? Oliver Spencer's men aren't slavish followers of fashion, or even especially dedicated. Next to the city's young guns, his clothes can seem staid—Dad-like even. That's not necessarily a bad thing -London fashion should be for every man, and indeed for the everyman. And if many of them would balk at the progressive but unwearable offerings of London’s bright young things, they’ll be drawn to Oliver Spencer's quiet wearability. Perhaps these clothes don't warrant the attention nor the pressure a runway showcase demands of them, and equally aren't presented to their best advantage there. But when the designer ignores those restrictions and goes with his gut, there's a palpable commercial appeal, even to hard-nosed fans of the avant-garde.

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