'Its a harmony but harmony on the edge' remarks Oliver Spencer backstage at his SS'16 collection. Indeed it was, as a 'harmonious discord' was present throughout the show through patterns, models and music. Oliver Spencer is never one to shy away from the norm and in this collection, he took his signature 'scruff' and yet again, proved that scruff is not so much a style, but a necessity. This time, Spencer took inspiration from minimalist sculptor Richard Serra's early sculptures. Constructed with industrial materials such as fiberglass, rubber and molten lead, Serra's sculptures deviated away from traditional clay and were highly unusual when he started in 1966. This spirit can be seen through Spencer's collection as 'fashion rules' go out the window and clash is where the harmony lies.
'We're prepared to bounce things off each other, a little clashing and just literally putting things together that shouldn't be together' Spencer says. Clash is explored through colour, print and length. An almond, red and green check button up is layered underneath a red tartan bomber jacket, whilst a Saville Row-esque cream blazer is paired with long bermuda shorts. Not only limited to silhouette but patterns were extended far past the 'one piece only' rule, a multicoloured red and orange plaid button up was layered underneath a fully red plaid bomber jacket, complete with a gold zip. Another outfit extended pattern with a head to toe floral button up and trouser against a black canvas. With Spencer taking inspiration from Serra, textures were mixed with rich leather backpacks against military green parkas. 'You should be trying to make it clash and to make it not happen and if you're not making it, its not happening.' Spencer firmly said as he emphasised the importance of exploring differences and bringing them together.
Music is a key ingredient in Spencer's 'harmonious discord' and Q strings, a sister string quartet supplied the music live on stage. 'It makes it a moment and thats what we do. From our models, from our live music, everything. It doesn't come without risk,' Oliver explained. 'That was a clash in itself, a string quartet playing an electronic tune.' Music continues to be the root of his inspiration. 'Right back to Stop Making Sense by Talking Sense (1984), which is one my favourite ever albums, all the way through to what Tinie's (Tinie Tempah) up to at the moment,' he mentions. 'Music is endlessly important to me.'
Never one to shy from archetypes, Spencer runway brought a variety of people onto the catwalk including model Sang Woo Kim, Chinese actor Hubing and interior designer Tom Pande.'Thats about bringing old, young and different style, different characters all on one runway. Its really important.' remarked Spencer. 'My target audience are very much into the creative industry, they're into art, they're into texture, they're into textile and they love this type of thing.'
With a melting pot of mixtures evident in the show, its fitting that it be in London. 'Without wanting to be too "london", I think London right now is creatively where its all happening.' Spencer remarks.
Unapologetic, undoubtedly individual, Oliver Spencer reminds the modern man that there is indeed a system in a madness of matters.
Words: Natalie Chui | Fashion Week Press | @the_nat_pack
Image: Céline Castillon| Fashion Week Photography | @petitefable