The Scottish brand finds the right designer to make knitwear a 21st-century fashion staple
If I had to write a textbook on rejuvenating a long-established knitwear brand, it would read something like this: “Make a sweater more than something rugged to wear — make it a key piece of an ensemble, the utterly charming accent.”
Those words were actually written by American novelist Edith Wharton, probably in 1920 when she wrote The Age of Innocence, but she was in fact talking about Pringle of Scotland. And with a little updating of the fashion language, the comment could come from Design Director Fran Stringer today.
Each piece of the latest Pringle collection seemed to fit the same criteria as so many decades ago. And after a strong start last season, this new show was just as good, even through a Spring/Summer period is not such an easy fit for knitwear.
But there they were: pale cardigans worn over streamlined dresses with hems at an angle; lean dresses with the texture of a garden fence; and sophisticated streamlined silhouettes like elongated T-shirts.
Fran Singer’s skill was then to change tack from plain to check, offering scarlet gingham for a simple dress or more complex plaids as shirts and trousers. But the decorative part of the collection was still graphic, always worked on straight lines, which made these knits seem less like classic tartan and more like artistic games with geometry.
Turning knitting into full sets of clothes — not just sweaters — seems the smart way forward for houses with a heritage in wool, and Pringle of Scotland is successfully following that route.