Pringle of Scotland stumbled a bit in its menswear last season. Alistair Carr seemed to know it. The first several looks in his Fall 2012 show, entirely in soothing camel silk-cashmere were, in his words, a "palate cleanser." Spring was his first men's outing for the brand, so a second chance is in order. This collection suggested he's striding in the right direction.
Carr arrived at Pringle from Balenciaga, and some of that house's angular iconoclasm characterized his first attempt. It sat a little uneasily within the halls of the august, centuries-old knit house. For Fall, he met that history in the middle. "I don't want to be afraid of Pringle's heritage," he explained. So every look he showed had some knit element. His chunky, textured sweaters had a gut-punch appeal without too much complication, though on closer inspection, they did have the intricacies he favors, like the "cage" knit he developed, encircling yarn with iridescent nylon thread before knitting it, giving the whole a subtle sheen. For pants, he showed basic pleated styles or knit leggings, though as a new motorcyclist, Carr couldn't resist throwing in a few cropped leather motorbike trousers. There was still a leanness and a fierceness to the offerings overall, as well as tweaks on tradition: a "twinset" whose "cardigan" was half sweater, half leather jacket, and a series of exploded tartan intarsias. But he didn't shy away from basics, either, something the longtime Pringle customer will appreciate. He called them a capsule collection of luxury essentials, hidden among the more directional pieces.
For his accessories, Carr tweaked standard English shoes like Chelsea boots by patching together unlikely colors—teal and baby pink; oxblood and blue—and encircling them with elasticated cords on industrial fasteners.
As of showtime, their future in production was uncertain. If a letter to your congressman would help—and who's to say it wouldn't?—then write it.