So my friend Hilarie, who went to one of those Manhattan private schools that Gossip Girl was based on—and was another of the cool girls I met in college who owned a Danish Book Bag (like I wrote about in my post yesterday)—had this to say in the comments: “Ms. Sundell was already pulling a retro move with the Chocolate soup bag in 1983. One could not cut it in my all-girls fifth-grade homeroom (circa 1975) without the requisite Chocolate Soup bag (mine was brown). And where oh where are my long-lost Bermuda Shop Fair-Isles?” Well Hilarie, I don’t have a clue about the Bermuda Shop—although my instincts tell me that if I had hung on to my Official Preppy Handbook the answer would lie in its pages— but this one is for you. Because your question put the fire under me to finally do the Fair Isle sweater blowout I’ve been thinking about a while now.
A lot of designers are having fun with the Fair Isle right now. This one from Thomas Sires has so many cheerfully un-wintry tones, but the grey anchors it in the season nicely.
And J Crew is having an inside-out-y deconstructed thrill ride with theirs.
I saw this Mara Hoffman sweater a couple of weeks ago while I was out shopping and my head nearly exploded: it’s got a kind of Peruvian/Fair Isle fusion going on that totally works for me. And the neon-to-non-neon color ratio is exactly right. I’m not sure photos do justice to its true awesomeness.
Once again, Opening Ceremony nails that whole techno-ethnic thing.
I’m not certain anything could make me love the color palette on this ALC sweater more than I already do.
As far as the real thing goes: if you want to be an absolute purist about it and only a Fair Isle sweater made in Fair Isle, Scotland will do, here’s your source: Fair Isle Knitwear, where sweaters are made on the same looms they used in the 20s. Each one is made to order: you send your measurements, they whip it up.
If you’re happy having it simply come from Scotland, try Scotweb, where the Fair Isles have all been hand knit by Shetlanders in their own homes.
And I’m going to just throw this excellently graphic also hand-knitted Icelandic sweater from Nordic Store in here too. Because it’s so fantastic that how could I not? It also made me realize that the ALC sweater I just showed you a sweater or two ago is totally Icelandic and not Fair Isle, but it, too, was too cute to be excluded.