Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. Rachel Carvell-Spedding, a jumper obsessive, has just launched Navygrey, a knitwear range that specialises in just one thing.
There are three shapes. The Funnel comes with raglan sleeves and a neck that reaches just below your chin but can also be worn tucked inside for a lower line and is just roomy enough in the torso – without being baggy – to slip a blouse underneath (very cute with a little frilled collar peeking above). The Neat is a slimmer cut, designed to work even under a tailored blazer. It comes with a ribbed crew neckline that sits flush to your throat and has square set sleeves. Lastly, The Relaxed, also round-necked, is slightly looser than The Neat, but with a similar neckline and smart French-set sleeves.
And there are four colours: black, ivory, magenta and puce. Just kidding. The last two are, obviously, navy and grey. How could they not be when the entire premise of the label was to recreate a perfect navy jumper Rachel remembers her mother wearing repeatedly more than 20 years ago?
The funnel, neat and relaxed, £135-150, Navygrey
“I spent years trying to track an identical jumper down, but I never did,” she says. “I don’t know why it’s so difficult to find the perfect jumper, but unless you have a grand to spend, it just is.”
Don’t you wish more small labels were this ruthlessly focused? It means they can drill into the details that make a basic fabulous. I’ve been trying out The ivory Funnel (and I don’t even like funnels). But this is the exception: chic enough to wear instead of a jacket when it’s too much faff fitting a coat over a tailored look.
I love the longer than usual ribbing on the cuff, which looks elegant. I like the length and the fact the ribbing at the hem doesn’t grip. They just reach the hips, which means no draughts, but the ribbing is thin enough to be tucked into higher waists for a neat look. There are more nerdy details: seven gauge Merino wool, which is light, soft and warm and doesn’t bobble as much as cashmere – although each Navygrey jumper also comes with a wooden debobbler. They arrive in organic cotton protective bags (store your jumpers in them and loop the handles over hangers instead of hanging directly to avoid stretching) and are delivered in packaging that can be sent back free of charge and reused.
The ink on her labels is non-toxic, the wool is sourced from ethically farmed sheep that haven’t been mulesed… she’s really thought this through and, while the process was complex and long, the results are as beautifully simple as the initial idea.