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Pringle of Scotland Gets a Makeover

Brand is remodeling itself into a leaner, more focused operation while Alistair Carr readies first collections.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 05/05/2011

LONDON — Pringle of Scotland is rapidly remodeling itself into a leaner, more focused operation with plans to open a new store in Mayfair this year, forge a closer link between its men’s and women’s collections and launch an accessories line.

The company will shutter its Sloane Street flagship, which has been open since 2003, and move to the West End, near Bond Street. The store will open by December and have a new design concept. It will also be smaller than the Sloane Street unit.

“We are bringing focus throughout the brand, and sales will be driven by knitwear,” said Benoit Duverger, Pringle’s new managing director.

Meanwhile, Alistair Carr, who was named design director of Pringle in March, is rapidly making changes of his own. His first collections for the brand will be resort and men’s wear, which will show on schedule in Milan in June. Resort, for November delivery, will be a core collection of 20 to 25 looks.

In an interview, Carr said he plans to offer a fresh take on knitwear and refresh Pringle staples such as the twinset and the argyle.

“I won’t be doing rustic, woolly grandma knits, but very beautiful clothes that women want to wear. I want them to buy into the brand. I’ll be bringing back color, and playing with the argyle and the twinset — but not in the obvious ways,” he said.

Carr said Pringle’s heritage will play an important but limited role: “I plan to go through the archives in Scotland, and I think it’s important to respect Pringle’s heritage, but I don’t want to ‘do’ a heritage line.”

He also plans to add “more dressed-up elements for evening” and work in more trouser fits and wovens. “I don’t want the wovens to be fillers between the knitwear, but special in their own right,” he said, adding that going forward, there would be more of a link between Pringle’s men’s wear and women’s wear.

Carr also has designs on accessories. He plans to add shoes, bags and small leather goods as soon as he gets the ready-to-wear collection up and running.

Carr will make his first consumer-facing public appearance in the U.S. in September at a Saks Fifth Avenue event during Fashion’s Night Out. He will appear at Saks with Tilda Swinton, who stars once again in Pringle’s fall ad campaign, which has been shot for the second season by Walter Pfeiffer.

Before joining Pringle, Carr worked at Balenciaga, Marni, Cacharel and Chloé. For three seasons, he designed a signature label, which he showed during London Fashion Week.