When editors, style bloggers, and British “It girls” showed up at Pringle of Scotland’s Spring/Summer show on Tuesday night, they saw something a little different from the typical London fashion show. For starters, they were standing in the Science Museum, not far from an interactive map of the solar system—a world away from the über-hip abandoned Waterloo Station where many of the week’s shows are taking place.
Gallery: Exclusive Images of Tilda Swinton
And before the Pringle show kicked off, cocktails were held on the first floor of the museum, where several sweaters hung behind plated glass, each the product of collaboration with an assortment of artists, and exhibited in the museum by the Serpentine Gallery. The 195-year-old Scottish knitwear brand Pringle has tapped artists including photographer Ryan McGinley and the singers behind Franz Ferdinand to personalize sweaters from the line’s archives. The Franz Ferdinand boys, Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy, riffed on the restrictive golf sweaters of their youth; Richard Wright, winner of the 2009 Turner Prize, began with sketches which were then embroidered onto a loose-fitting cape. (The sweaters are then sold in limited editions.)
The most recognizable collaborator is Tilda Swinton, whose green twinset she titled, The Twinset of My Dreams. “Although this began as a diary project it evolved into a dowry project,” Swinton has said. Swinton collaborated with Douglas Gordon (whose sweater is a reimagining of his own tattoos) and Ryan McGinley on the campaign for the brand’s fall line. And though the images graced several magazines, the collaborative process that unfolded behind the scenes—from eating mussels to blowdrying hair to horsing around—are seen here for the first time.
According to Clare Waight Keller, the line’s creative director responsible for choosing and working with each of the artists, the collaborations helped inspire her work for Pringle’s womenswear collections. “A lot of them were very nervous, because it was their first time they were working with something people would wear,” she said of the artists. “It brings in something very conceptual, where as usually I’m thinking ‘Right. This is the next season,’ and then onto the next one. They’re thinking much broader—something that’s really an art piece.”