Pringle of Scotland Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2016 London
Ever since Pringle relaunched fifteen years ago under Kim Winser and Stuart Stockdale, oddness has become its stock in trade – a stubborn striving for strangeness, which banished the label's candy-sweet golf-casual reputation to the archives, and sought to reestablish it as a serious fashion player. The infamous Jonathan Bookallil image that preceded the opening of its Bond Street flagship summed it up best – a girl, bare-breasted, naked but for a double-stranded necklace; the new Twin Set and Pearls.
Numerous designers have come and gone along the way since then, including Chloe's Clare Waight Keller and McQ's Alastair Carr. But under Massimo Nicosia the label has found a new purposefulness in its focus on the techniques and technology of knitting itself – the skill that first led to the company's foundation, 200 years ago.
The past few seasons have seen Nicosia explore innovative technologies to create spectacular new surfaces. This time around, though, the mood was altogether simpler – and less perfect. The house Argyll print appeared as loosely-linked diamond-paneled slips and skirts, whilst shards of open-weave wool broke apart into bedraggled, trailing streamers. Plaited ribbons and leather strands hammered home the inconclusiveness of Nicosia's shapes, and long, lean tunic forms anchored the whole collection in the languid, ethereally androgynous aesthetic of the Twenties – an era embodied by the label's idiosyncratic muse, Tilda Swinton.
Staged at the magnificent Hansom Hall of the St. Pancras Hotel, the view out was an apt one. On one side, the grand arcades of the adjacent Victorian railway station; on the other, the love-it-or-hate-it late-Modern hulk of the British Library. And sandwiched between the two, the curving glass roof of the Crick Institute, a brand new state-of-the-art facility dedicated to DNA research. Heritage, imaginative intelligence, and science; a perfect summation of where Pringle stands, 200 years in.