The copious program notes for today's Pringle of Scotland
show cited the Duke of Windsor and Noël Coward as being among the brand's original fans way back when, but incoming creative director Alistair Carr has clearly been given the go-ahead to target a very different customer. Carr, an extravagantly tattooed Central Saint Martins grad and Balenciaga alum, said duality was his watchword, as in (for example) jackets that were poplin in front and knit in back. But duality applied in a different sense. Though Carr paid lip service to respecting the house's heritage, he was much keener to reflect his cutting-edge apprenticeships at labels like Chloé and Marni, as well as Balenciaga. That was most obvious in the footwear, a collaboration with Puma that consisted of an elastic-sided black boot perched on a thick neon sneaker sole. Traditional they weren't. Perhaps this sort of adventurous approach can pay dividends. Carr claimed the fact that he wasn't from a knit background was a bonus, allowing him to say to the Pringle team, "Why can't we do that?" and to experiment with motifs like the "fragmented" argyle he used today. The risk is that you alienate existing customers without winning new ones. Carr needs longer to establish himself, but so far the risks are outweighing the rewards.