London Collections: Men – The English Gentlemen at Spencer House
As crowds gathered in front of the Georgian front door of Spencer House, Mayfair, heat emanated from two huge flame torches and excitement grew. Inside this stunning private palace, Ede & Ravenscroft (London’s oldest tailor) showcased an array of the finest materials The Upcoming had ever seen, all modelled by some very striking and nonchalant models of all ages.
The event was hosted by the Gentlemen’s Houses of Savile Row and the selection of tailored pieces from the likes of Anderson & Sheppard, Henry Poole & Co, Gieves & Hawkes and many more came together to create the perfect example of how to dress like an English gentleman. The set-up was pushing the boundaries of becoming promenade theatre, with the models sitting reading or loitering up the staircases having conversations. There was something for all: breeches, 20-bore shotgun and Labrador for the shooters; dress capes, white Marcella bow ties and dress studs for the evening glamour; and even a room devoted entirely to military attire courtesy of Dege & Skinner, Henry Poole & Co and Gieves and Hawkes. This look was complete with swords, medals and some of the most well-polished shoes we’ve ever seen.
We were guided by the well-dressed crowds through the Entrance Hall and away from some of Holland & Holland’s more countryside appropriate hunting threads into the Ante Room and through to our favourite room, The Library. There was an abundance of books, velvet and class. The models all sported luxurious smoking jackets in greens, blacks and burgundy with silk bow ties.
The Dining Room followed, and despite the damage done during WW2, the ceiling in particular has been magnificently restored and you can still see true elements from the designs of both Vardy and Holland in the detail. Here we saw a huge number of evening wear and dinner suits seated around the enormous dining table, again, paying little to no attention to the gawping and photo flashes coming from the audience. We saw a mixture of black and white tie attire from Maurice Sedwell, Hardy Amies and Edward Sexton, to name a few. Our personal favourite was a quirky yet classic Black Watch tartan shawl lapel dinner suit in wool from Richard James. In addition to this there was an enchanting velvet burgundy smoking robe with silk facing from Davies & Son and a stunning black dress cape from Kilgour.
We found ourselves surrounded by men in uniform in the Palm Room, where we saw everything from Dege & Skinner’s Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Dress Uniform, complete with chain mail shoulder straps and long swan neck spurs, Gieves & Hawkes’ Royal Navy Mess Uniform with gorgeous red lapels, and Henry Poole & Co’s Court Dress in blue-black silk and cotton velvet, worn by country high sheriffs and complete with an elegantly dangerous looking sword.
In the Hall and onwards up the candlelit staircase we met models ready for the streets of London, complete with striking wool overcoats and herringbones, some of whom were sporting hats by Lock & Co. This was followed by the Music Room, where we saw some beautiful tweed pieces from Lutwyche, Holland & Holland and H. Huntsman & Sons, all accompanied with wide cut ties and corduroy trousers.
Finally we walked through Lady Spencer’s room and into the Great Room where we were greeted with appetisers, vol-au-vents and Nyetimber sparkling wine. All-in-all, an event oozing with class from day two of the London Collections: Men, and we look forward to seeing the rest of the menswear on offer for the rest of this week.
Photos: Elizabeth Finney