Oliver Spencer Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear
Oliver Spencer says he always starts with an artist in mind when he’s designing a new collection. Lucian Freud was the first. For Spring 2016, Spencer claimed as an influence the minimal monumentalist Richard Serra, he of the gigantic contoured curves of rusting sheet metal. Dynamic, exciting work to be sure, but a tricky correlative for a designer working in the flimsy medium of fabric. Which meant the Serra inspiration was abstract to the point of nonexistence. Except that Spencer insisted you could see it in the clean, straight lines of his clothes, in the clashing textures, in the checks, and—who knows?—in the rusty shade of a suede jacket.
Whatever. Without the substance of Serra, Spencer’s clothes still stood as an appealingly low-maintenance summer collection for guys of a smart/casual stripe. Tailoring was unlined; shirttails were flying; utilitarian linens would need no pressing. Spencer talked about a clash of textures, but it was scarcely anything that would scare the horses. He said his ideal is always dressing for the Nigerian embassy. If that means something that was sharp enough to pass diplomatic muster in 120-degree heat, he met his own challenge. Making the whole package more attractive was one of the broadest, quirkiest model castings of the whole weekend, and a live soundtrack provided by Q Strings, a female quartet whose plangent version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was enough to bring a tear to the eye.