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August 23 2014

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Balenciaga Alum Alistair Carr Takes The Reins At Pringle Of Scotland

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A new chapter in Pringle of Scotland‘s near-two-century saga opens with the appointment of Alistair Carr as design director. He follows in the footsteps of Clare Waight Keller, who took the company’s signature knitwear places you barely knew it could go. But if anyone can fill Waight Keller’s quietly iconoclastic boots, it could well be Carr, who is coming off four years as head of show collections under Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga.

There can be few better places in fashion to master the radical re-contextualizing of tradition than Balenciaga. And that, according to Carr, is exactly what is expected of him at Pringle. His own history would seem to equip the 36-year-old for the task. He was turned on to fashion by his grandfather, who was a couturier in Gretna Green, the tiny Scottish town where eloping Brits were free to marry. Then, after some post-college years of don’t-hem-me-in idiosyncrasy, when Carr lived on a bus as a dreadlocked crusty, he subjected himself to the sink-or-swim character building that only Professor Louise Wilson’s legendary M.A. course at Central Saint Martins could provide. Finally, following stints at Marni, Cacharel, and Chloé, came the precision and discipline of Ghesquière’s finishing school.

“I am a perfectionist about finish,” says Carr, “but I also want ease of movement in clothes.” His first opportunity to apply his principles to Pringle will be the men’s collection, just around the corner in June. If you’re looking for a point of difference with the past, Carr says to expect something more streamlined, less archive-oriented. He is, however, staying in tune with Waight Keller in his commitment to continuing Pringle’s collaborations with contemporary artists. He also insists the Queen can rest assured that she’ll still be able to find her favorite cashmere twinsets.

Photo: Courtesy of Pringle of Scotland

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