back to the future of knitwear at pringle spring/summer 18
“Knitwear is no longer just for keeping warm and cosy.”
As guests approached the One Marylebone show address, we were greeted by one man, a megaphone and a mocking tone. "Overpriced sweaters, right this way," he quipped before we spotted the PR team and entered the venue. Given the animosity of anti-fur protests that have followed much of London Fashion Week, this diminutive demo was oddly welcome. Throughout the show, his words were considered. Of course, on a sliding scale of affordability, Pringle's offering would be out of reach for most of us. However, that doesn't mean they are overpriced. Throughout its 200-year history, the oldest fashion house in the world has pushed the possibilities of knitwear while proving it's not just for winter, it's forever. If the protestor had watched the show, examined the wares backstage or talked to womenswear design director Fran Stringer, he might well have reconsidered his position.
"Pringle's history is testament to the breadth and versatility of knitting and yarn," Stringer reminded us. "As the company evolved through different manufacturing techniques, it pioneered new interpretations of traditional fabrics – always pushing the boundaries of what knitwear represents to those who wear it. Ever since her acclaimed autumn/winter 16 debut -- Suzy Menkes proclaimed that "Fran Stringer got everything just right for Pringle" -- she has weaved tradition with innovation and pushed the boundaries of how we see and engage with knitwear. "Today, knitwear is no longer just for keeping warm and cosy, it's an integral part of women's lives and wardrobes all year round," she added.
Spring/summer 18 continued Pringle's celebration of the beauty and versatility of yarn as it swept across the spectrum of knitwear from the artisanal to the highly-technical. Much of it was as light as a summer's breeze -- knitwear for balmy days rather than cosy nights. Featherweight pieces were almost other-worldly in their translucent delicacy, while candy coloured celluloid yarn were refreshingly modern.
While looking to the future, Stringer isn't afraid to reinterpret Pringle's beloved Scottish heritage. This season, it was most explicit in sweeping Scottish landscapes and Shetland Isles coastline shot by Harley Weir which were rendered in abstract form and digitally-printed onto intarsia argyle and superfine knits. "For us, Pringle's legacy as both craftsman and innovator will always be the driving force for new collections." Back to the future of knitwear.