Pringle of Scotland has a new head designer in Massimo Nicosia, but his challenge differs little from his predecessors Alistair Carr and Clare Waight Keller. That is, how to take a centuries-old brand, honor its history, and move it forward both commercially and in design, as other brands of the same ilk, such as Burberry and Mulberry, have done. If the DNA of Burberry is a trenchcoat, for Pringle it's knitwear, something that Nicosia obsesses over: "I feel I am as much an archivist of Pringle as designer," he said during a showroom appointment today. "I have to preserve the past. But also I have to move forward by developing fabric technology, and create something very light out of something quite heavy. I have to create structure out of knit that is known for its very lack of structure."
For Nicosia, yarns and fabrics are a "designer's ingredients," and for Spring, he has cooked up a sporty collection of bombers and tracksuit looks punctuated with a lot of mesh and racing stripes. Particularly impressive was an orange dress crafted from knitted silk with pointelle details and an almost imperceptible use of Pringle's signature argyle motif. On a sweatshirt, he placed a mesh overlay in a tiny argyle grid formation above an almost impossibly soft leather in an electrifying lapis lazuli color. The silk of an eggshell-colored trouser was intersected with micro beads. The Pringle powers that be demand a twin set, and there it was in that lapis again—the thing that set it apart was its softness, which must have required a lot of work in some mill.
True, not much revolutionary stuff happening here in design, but in fabric innovation? That's a resounding yes. On the subject of the brand's future, Nicosia could've talked all night—but wait, wasn't he already late for his shop opening party, with Tilda Swinton and Gemma Arterton waiting in the wings? "I am not really a party boy," he said. "I'd rather sit here and think about knitwear."
Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear
Pringle of Scotland
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