Stuart Stockdale
Stuart Stockdale

LONDON, May 30, 2002 / — Pringle of Scotland recently unveiled its Fall/Winter collection, which they hope will give them the rep of Britain’s premier luxury knitwear company.

All the essentials are there: vintage pieces, pretty sweaters, bags, hats, shoes, cashmere blankets and kids’ jumpers.

They also showed their best-selling men’s argyle sweaters, which Edward Prince of Wales wore religiously in the 1920s.

London’s young dudes are currently wearing them oversized, with low-slung jeans and battered sneakers.

The fashion range will be the first offer from Pringle’s new Bond Street store, which also happens to be the 187-year-old Royal Warrant holder’s first high-street retail outlet ever.

The store, which opens in September, now boasts the billboard of a naked young lady wearing a string of pearls that raised eyebrows in the British media several weeks ago.

This could prove to be the perfect selling point for Pringle.

The advertising shot is inspired by a scandalous divorce case from 1963, nicknamed the “headless man.”

The story: A society lady was photographed with an anonymous man. Her face wasn’t visible from the front, but the adultery case was won, and she was found out, because of her instantly recognizable string of pearls.

Pringle of Scotland Ad Campaign
Pringle of Scotland Ad Campaign

In revamping its image, Pringle’s doing a Burberry — and to do a Burberry, you need a designer.

So the company introduced 33-year-old Stuart Stockdale, their new head of design who has worked for Romeo Gigli, J. Crew, and Jasper Conran, as well as briefly running his own label.

A St. Martins and Royal College of Art graduate, Stockdale is creating a capsule collection of revived vintage designs, and new pieces using traditional fabrics such as woven grosgrain ribbon, for the shop launch.

He’s also set on reinventing the twin set. More importantly he will create a collection for London Fashion Week, which will be shown, salon style, at the new store.

“When I saw the breadth of the archive I just thought ‘Oh my God!'” says Stockdale, who originally hails from the Scottish borders, just an hour away from Hawick, Pringle’s base.

“We have had to hire an archivist to get it in order. Pringle has so much potential, so much history. The other day I uncovered a print archive that hasn’t seen the light of day since the 1960s. The handprinted cashmere section was beautiful.”

Stockdale’s challenge is to break out from strictly knitted pieces, and introduce a Pringle look in tailoring for both men and women.

The Argyle is, of course, their signature, but Stockdale promises, “It won’t be our equivalent to the Burberry check. There really is nothing else out there like Pringle. In the 1950’s it was the luxury knitwear brand in the US — we dressed Hollywood. Now we want to appeal to a savvy international client.”

Luckily for Kenneth Fang, who bought the company for $9 million two years ago, the US Pringle licenses are back in their hands, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.