Oliver Spencer on formalwear brand Favourbrook

The designer talks about the new Pall Mall boutique that houses his occasionwear collection


I started Favourbrook with Marina Wallrock and Peter Vainer in 1993 as a formalwear brand for those with a passion for interesting fabrics. We sold velvet smoking jackets, waistcoats and other garments, using textiles to develop these into fun items for people to wear at weekends and beyond just formal occasions. We started with one store, and the brand has really helped me build my other projects, including my eponymous label Oliver Spencer, which is all about contemporary menswear.

Two years ago, we decided we needed to upgrade Favourbrook from the little store and move it into a big home where we could do it justice. So, in November 2017, we moved our flagship store from Piccadilly Arcade, where it had been since we first began, to this new location on Pall Mall. Favourbrook had been sitting quietly for a very long time and it was time to get out there and give it a really big push.

We were offered a wonderful building designed by the famous British architect Edwin Lutyens, located between Farlows, which sells country gear for shooting and fishing, and Philip Mould, the art dealers that specialises in British art and Old Masters. I just felt like it was more elegant than anything else that I'd seen in London. I had this idea that I could create this intriguing space that would feel something like a cross between the Victoria and Albert Museum and, say, LouLou's.

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It was important in this age of technology, in the age of everyone sitting in their armchair on their phones, that we delivered something that was going to get people off their seat and into a shop. And Favourbrook is all about service, style and interesting stuff. There's the collection of 1,000 bow ties and 700 waistcoats, but beyond clothing we've also brought together lots of different ephemera and art. There is, for example, the working old scale-model steam train I bought years ago, which now has a home winding up the bannisters.

This new, expanded store is a testament to the longevity of Favourbrook. And if I’m right, occasionwear is in an interesting place currently – it's having a moment. It's funny, whenever we get into a slight economic crisis, it's the category of fashion that has a good time.

OLIVER SPENCER is the fashion designer behind occasionwear specialists Favourbrook and his eponymous brand that offers a contemporary take on menswear; favourbrook.com

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