Massimo Nicosia, Pringle of Scotland's creative director, is not opposed to being derivative as long as the result conveys progression. Consider the final look of his Spring collection, a replica in sweater form of William Morris' green Pimpernel botanical design. The original wallpaper pads an upstairs room of Two Temple Place, the late-Victorian mansion built for William Waldorf Astor. It has lingered in Nicosia's mind ever since an open house a few years back (hence he selected the place as today's show venue). But instead of merely appropriating the swirling blooms as a print, the designer pixelated and reengineered the motif, adding in "noise" with myriad different yarns to create what he described as a "gentle relief."
Nicosia plunges himself into heritage—whether Pringle's or otherwise—to inform the technical processes that push the brand forward. The micro 3-D-printed slats that he introduced in his Fall women's collection reappeared here on a cable-knit cricket pullover—a deliberate collision of retro and future prep. The same intention played out with another silk-cotton pullover; only this time, the cable was a trompe l'oeil. Credit a new knit-embossing technique for the added dimension.
The designer coaxed no shortage of permutations out of classic British Tattersall check, knitting it into jacquards and printing it atop a silk faille that resembled filmy nylon. Can men wear checkered, cropped knit trousers without being cast in Wes Anderson movies? Nicosia is betting yes (although the white socks might not make it beyond the show's styling). The idea of an outerwear polo—it was lined with tech
jersey—seems equal parts oxymoron and obvious; either way, you likely don't have one in your closet. Ditto the mohair suit, which Nicosia has revived with a cooler hand and sporty knit lapels. Essentially, the vision Nicosia is imposing on Pringle, which celebrates its centenary next year, shows forward-thinking deference—he's certainly not boxed in.