Text by Pete Anderson
Photos by Albert Thomas.
The styleforum (capsule) crew had the good fortune of visiting the Peregrine showroom in midtown to see a few lines that weren't presenting at capsule, but showing privately for shops. After tromping up four floors (past the Rogues Gallery offices), we entered a long, comfortably appointed room--as in, there was a couch--with a scattering of artwork featuring falcons (go figure) as well as rolling racks from Universal Works, August Fifteenth, and Oliver Spencer. A tall, dark-haired man stood among the Oliver Spencer stuff, which had an immediately discernable British edge. "Oliver," he said, offering his hand and smiling. Mr. Spencer talked with Fok about his past collections as Albert and I thumbed through the waxed cotton outerwear, wool breeks, and weighty knits that make up his Fall/Winter 2010 collection. Fok reminisced about a jacket he's owned for awhile, and Oliver complimented his memory, saying that the hunting jacket with hacking pockets was a first or second season piece for Oliver Spencer, founded in 2002. Fok described the fabric as brown corduroy. "Chestnut brown," Oliver corrected.
The club collar has become a little ubiquitous since the great Ervell club collar resurrection of spring/summer 2008. Spencer's has a nice shape--almost a "spread" club, vs. the round, nearly cloverleaf-shapes you sometimes see.
The asymmetrical closure has been a consistent touch on Oliver Spencer outerwear for a few seasons.
Red felt throws some color on this work jacket.
A sharp, short-cut jacket suits a tartan waxed cotton fabric that I feel like I've seen before.
I noted that some of the pieces, besides sporting a "Made in UK" label, had a number sequence sewn unobtrusivley in the lining--Spencer confirmed that these were longitude and latitude. The detail designates the coordinates of his studio and creative space in London--a hint of expedition and orienteering in outerwear designed for just such exploits. The wool breeches, which end at the calf with a velcro closure, Mr. Spencer recommends as very wearable--he finds them particularly suited to gardening. Natan nodded politely, but c'mon, Natan gardening?
Flecks of Donegalian color in this tweedy hat and scarf.
Spencer's racks held a number of pieces that are becoming staples of contemporary menswear. A waxed cotton anorak hit the right notes in salmon pink/orange (also available in more muted tones); a waxed bomber is available in black watch tartan; heavy knit hats and brogue boots on a wedge rubber sole also stood out. The boots, Spencer said, are made in Northampton at a factory that also makes for the British military (we suspect Trickers, but cannot confirm). The black boot was on a white sole, and brown on black. Spencer's palettes tend to be restrained, but the use of even-toned glen plaids and other tartans gives some more visual interest to pieces that show a distinct military and work influence. The newer pieces, including his tailored jackets, have softer edges than some of Spencer's older, more mil- and mod-leaning collections. Many of the pieces are UK made. Shirts are made in Portugal and the EU.
Spencer defies the UK connotation of anorak. OR DOES HE?
Brogue boots were almost a standard in F/W10 collections. Spencer's are made in UK and are set off by a low-profile wedge rubber sole.
Surprisingly, this is not Fok's closet.
Scotch grain oxfords.
Spencer has stores in NY and London, where he also stocks Universal Works, Engineered Garments, and occasionally other lines. Odin in New York also carries the line.
Thanks to Jennie Arnau, Oliver Spencer, Mauro Farinelli and Nathan from Farinelli's.