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Tough times call for powerful men, protective gear and a lot of attitude — and that’s just what Pringle designer Claire Waight Keller is plotting for fall.

“There’s a masculine ruggedness to the surfaces of this collection. I’m looking at a very strong man — not a fragile boyishness,” said the designer during a walk-through at Pringle’s showroom here. For the Milan show, she said she’s casting “strong-boned models with brawn — men who fill out the clothes.”

For fall, knitwear works double-time as outerwear in the form of weighty double-breasted peacoats, wool and cashmere bombers with kilt-inspired buckles, cozy sweater jackets with detachable nylon shells, and pullovers with hooks and zip fastenings. Knitwear even moonlights as tailored clothing, as in one structured jacket with a knitted face and felted wool interior, or another with a similar knitted face and tartan plaid embroidery on the inside.

Textures are rough and tactile: some hand-knit sweaters are snagged and laddered down the sleeves or the front, echoing Waight Keller’s women’s designs for spring, while others are a distressed blend of cashmere and mohair. Others still boast giant, bumpy argyle patterns. Smooth surfaces work their way into the collection, too, in the form of fine-gauge knits deftly overembroidered with chunky yarns.

The muted color palette is inspired by artists such as Joseph Beuys and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, said Waight Keller, who worked in shades of stone, moss, bleached-out grays, mustard and rust.

The knits are clearly the alpha males of this collection, which also features tailored clothing that is softly structured and lightweight.

There are pajamalike shirts with fully detachable collars, abstract scribble print shirts and others made from cotton faille. Featherweight suits have border piping that runs down the side of the legs and along the jacket lapels — details of British regimental origin. Dark velvet jackets have white poplin linings.

The British brand will show its fall collection at Circolo Filologico Milanese, not far from La Scala, and the show will kick off with a short animated film by the Scottish artist David Shrigley.

Shrigley, known for his naïf, colorful cartoons, has created window displays for Pringle and designed posters inspired by the twin set that went on display during London Fashion Week in September.

His three-and-a-half-minute film is narrated by a proud and outspoken Scottish granny character who loves handmade sweaters, loathes skinny models and thinks Pringle is the only true knitwear-maker on the planet.

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