Spotlight AW13: Oliver Spencer’s Bavarian Wool

The designer on this season’s key fabric from his London Collections: Men show

In the studio below one of his Lamb Conduit stores, Oliver Spencer is busy fitting and trying out his AW13 collection with the help of models, staff and stylist William Gilchrist. The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead is on repeat on the stereo. Everyone is apologising for the mess in the cramped room. But there’s no need to – it’s four days before show time and the studio should not be tidy. Had it been, I’d get suspicious and worried. On rail after rail, Spencer’s signature casual tailoring hangs next to wool coats and dark denim suits. The colour scheme is sombre and subtle, as is often the case with Spencer’s sartorial offerings, but this season shiny reds and blues brighten up the proceedings. Oliver takes 10 minutes off from dressing fitting models; although constantly interrupted to deal with a barrage of problems and questions, he manages to talk Port through the collection. What’s the strongest characteristic, garment or fabric this season, I ask. Straight away he points to the Bavarian wool used in coats, jackets and trousers.

“For me it’s very important to get texture, substance and quality from the garments. This season is all about making it clean but textured at the same time – and with a dash of colour. My favourite fabric from the collection is this Bavarian wool. It’s rich in texture and looks quirky. I’ve been looking at it for years. I first saw it on a German friend who was using it for his jackets. Then I found it at Premium Vision and I just thought ‘That’s Autumn Winter 13 sorted’. It just spelled signature to me, and the rest of the collection just fell into place after that. For AW13, it comes in navy, grey and brown. The navy is a bit of a boring colour but the Bavarian wool in navy looks fantastic. It’s woven in a standard manner but the luster of the fabric is added in the finishing. It’s washed in a giant roller, very slowly. The fabric shrinks and creates this luster and texture… it’s a key fabric for this season!”

Illustration Lianne Humphreys