As school projects go, working with a luxury fashion label and being afforded access to the wardrobe of Princess Grace of Monaco, aka movie star Grace Kelly, beats sprinkling glitter over homemade greetings cards. This dream assignment became reality for Central Saint Martin’s students thanks to Pringle of Scotland.
Last year, BA History and Theory students researched Kelly’s wardrobe, accessing Palace of Monaco archives and presenting their findings at a Nouveau Musée National de Monaco exhibition. Then came the turn of MA Fashion Design students. Inspired by the Princess’s innate sense of style, each designed a selection of pieces for Pringle’s new capsule “Archive Collection” of 100 per cent cashmere knitwear.
While the Hitchcock heroine’s public persona may more usually be associated with the Hermès Sac à dépêches, renamed the “Kelly” bag, it was during family time that she displayed a penchant for Pringle’s classics. Many students were inspired by this dual persona played out to exemplary effect in Louise Morris’s “Grace” and “Kelly” logo sweaters and off-beat floral prints. The former were inspired by images of Kelly and her brother playing baseball while the latter looked to one of Kelly’s flower pressings.
Other standout pieces from an extensive collection include Assaf Reeb’s sweaters with fur trims inspired by a stole Kelly wore to a Monte Carlo ball; Jae Lee’s spin on the classic V-neck; Alice Bastin’s sweaters with inbuilt bow-ties; and the fluted cuffs and trompe l’oeil twinsets of Rachel Hewitt. The last designed a cashmere turban inspired by Kelly’s love for that epitomisation of old Hollywood glamour.
Special mention goes to Pringle’s brand ambassador, actress Tilda Swinton, who contributed a long-sleeved maxi dress in super-light cashmere silk, based on a High Society bathing robe. “It’s kind of a twinset dress, a dressing gown for a part-time goddess heading for some heady drunken dancing.”
Of that, Kelly would most certainly have approved.