A quick glance at any recent Pringle of Scotland collection would not give you the faintest clue of the brand's rich heritage that stretches back as far as 1815s. It claims to be one of the first brands to introduce knitwear as outerwear at the turn of the 20th century and has gone on to become a favourite among movie stars and royalty alike especially in the 50s. Jean Simmons, Margaret Lockwood and Grace Kelly were just some of the iconic personalities who have named Pringle as one of their go-to label for knitwear.
Today's menswear fall/winter presentation held in Bloomsbury might just reveal its secret to such longevity. Traditional craftsmanship plays backdrop to new innovative knitwear techniques. Experimental weaves such as cellophane yarn is woven through perforated knit. Layering of mesh over iconic made-in-Scotland cashmere sweaters demonstrates this amalgamation of old meets new. Thanks to the expert stewardship of its present creative director, Massimo Nicosia, and his esteemed predecessors throughout its history, including Chloe's Claire Waight Keller, it has become a Pringle culture to constantly deliver new construction techniques that reflect a contemporary attitude.
The most standout style employed in this collection has to be the roll-neck, which is incidentally becoming a trend at London Collections: Men. Some of these 'turtle necks' are indeed separate pieces of accessory made detachable in the event of erratic mild weather. Another clever detail is how tartan the is used sparingly and in unexpected ways. In one of the cashmere blazers, a tartan lining in deep indigo bleeds into the garment's lining, introducing a seamlessness that is quite elegant. On another decadent velvet evening jacket, the tartan pattern has been inconspicuously applied in a slightly darker hue - in some angles it is barely there. Closer inspection of the garments also reveal elements that are rather current like the use of neoprene panels in one of the knit jumpers complete with a side zipper. They are up-to-date choices that do not necessarily take the brand away from its classic appeal.
Despite these new seasonal elements, the crux of the collection is still based on classic designs from within the archive, passed down through generations. Some of the jumpers, like the ivory argyle hand-knit number, are actual replicas. It makes the thought of buying a style dating back to deep antiquity rather charming.
This direction seems to be well-suited for Pringle and its pool of male customers who are comfortable with the classics. It caters to their sartorial needs and preserves the brand's heritage at once. There are already enough ultra-edgy, avant-garde, designers showing at London Collections: Men; it is only just that Pringle of Scotland reserves a portion of the pie for the other men who may choose to dress more traditionally.