How does a brand on the verge of its 200th anniversary tell the world that it's two steps ahead? By experimenting with 3-D printing, of course. After seasons of holding presentations, Pringle of Scotland staged a series of intimate shows (at Savile House, the legendary gents' club) that marked a defining moment within the brand and beyond.
Massimo Nicosia used his sophomore turn as head designer to push research and development in fabric innovation. Mainly this involved recruiting architect and "material scientist" Richard Beckett, who applied engineering principles to twinsets and melton coats. Together he and Nicosia produced next-level knitwear. But to compare the hand-feel of cashmere and micro-cut powdered nylon is like comparing a sheep to a Bearbrick: plush versus pliant. To see them integrated seamlessly into a roll-neck sweater—the former in Pringle's classic cable, the latter as slender horizontal slats or Lilliputian diamonds (wink, wink: Pringle heritage)—was to witness textile engineering at its best.
Looks that were not the product of hybridized workmanship deserve kudos as well; in particular, the implicit luxury of a collarless evening coat in knitted mink with a placket of matte sequins. Then there was the deceptively simple raglan sweater that transitioned from delicate netting around the décolletage to denser ribbing everywhere else—an ombré effect in knit.
But back to the 3-D printing, because this was, after all, the newsiest (and the newest) part of the show: A pullover adorned with synthetic scales, and a tank dress with an under-hem of tiny structures resembling a whale's baleen plate elevated Pringle basics to anthropomorphic territory. Still, these developments didn't play out as a mutant invasion of the host brand; Nicosia clearly respects the DNA too much. And by keeping his shapes easy and elegant, he reduced the risk of over-conceptualizing what must remain, through the next season and the next decade, wearable clothes.