Some lucky person is going to look just like Princess Diana! 👸👸👸👸
What’s bright red and white and a favorite of Princess Di’s? Why, the sheep jumper, of course. And what’s that? Glad you asked: It’s a jumper (British parlance for a pullover sweater) with rows upon rows of white sheep forming an unmistakable—once you’ve seen it—design. Oh, yes, one black sheep is always knitted into the pattern as well, though its exact position amidst the woolly flock changes from one sweater style to the next.
The sheep jumper was the creation of a pair of enterprising English pals, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, both 28. Operating from a small shop on London’s South Bank, they are partners in a sweater-making cottage industry which they named Warm and Wonderful. “We always knit things we would like to wear ourselves,” says Joanna, and Sally adds, “The sheep jumper just seemed ironic, to have a sheep motif on a wool sweater.” They both insist they do not design with royalty in mind and that “by coincidence our style appeals to the sort of girl that Diana is. She has a wonderful sense of fashion, and our sweater is perfect for her casual style.”
The Princess of Wales never visited their shop, so Muir and Osborne are not sure how she came by her sheep jumper—probably a gift, they think. But ever since Di was first photographed some two years ago wearing hers, it has been the hottest-selling item, particularly among London’s “Sloane Rangers,” the trendy young herd that roams in and out of the fashionable boutiques around Sloane Square. Customers who don’t want to follow along sheepishly can opt for pig jumpers, frog jumpers, fish jumpers or any of a couple of dozen creatures of choice. And we now have one in stock!
In 1981, Prince Charles married Lady Di and among the official wedding gifts sent to the then-happy couple was a pair of Jenny Kee koala and kangaroo hand-knitted jumpers. Based on the children’s book character Blinky Bill, the koala knit was one of Kee’s most popular designs.
In 1982 a pregnant and ‘windswept’ Princess Diana was photographed by the English press wearing her chunky bright blue ‘Blinky’ jumper and a pair of red trousers at a polo match.
The image went viral, as did another photograph of Diana wearing a Muir and Osborne ‘one-black sheep-in-a-flock’ jumper (ironically revisited by French fashion house Chloe seen below in 2009).
Diana’s witty knits, sparked huge demand for copies amongst her international fashion followers. Kee was asked to design a ‘Blinky Di’ pattern for Australian Women’s Weekly readers to whip up at home, while Muir and Osborne sold 500 of their hand-knitted sheep sweaters in less than five months.
And, as of April 2015, the Blinky Di pullover, seen above, is being redesigned for a new era of trendsetters. Jenny Kee’s “Koala” just never goes out of style!