Susannah Frankel: Ready To Wear

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Indy Lifestyle Online

For all the flak directed at the British for their impoverished sense of style, a hefty dose of Anglophilia is rarely a million miles away from the collective fashion consciousness. Here, then, we have Dolce & Gabbana's witty and pretty take on that theme. Their younger D&G line was nothing if not an unabashed homage to the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth II, not dressed for affairs of state but wearing the kind of clothing she is best known for when walking her Corgis at Balmoral. And jolly nice she looks, too.

True, and naturally with only the greatest respect, in this instance HRH appears a little more coquettish than might be expected and perhaps somewhat more colourful in her tastes to boot. But the Argyle knits, the tartans and, above all, the headscarf tied beneath the chin are all instantly recognisable nonetheless.

Are there really many women out there today – and young women in particular – likely to step out with their heads covered in this way, other than for religious reasons, of course? Well, perhaps. The look may be unashamedly nostalgic, but if it was good enough for a doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn in Charade or, even more famously, Grace Kelly in High Society, who are we to argue?

More relaxed in appearance – and even bohemian – is the scarf tied at the nape of the neck, these days more suited to bad hair days at Glastonbury than anything more studied in effect. Men wear them this way too, at which point pirates rather than princesses spring to mind. Just ask John Galliano.

Of course, scarves are also big business. Like sunglasses, wallets and belts, they provide a comparatively accessible entry point into a label, which means that only few big names would be foolish enough to ignore them. The Hermès scarf is perhaps the most classic, and among the most lovely, but Versace's baroque prints still look suitably grand. Then there are Cartier scarves, printed with jewels, while Chanel scarves come stamped with a pleasingly prominent double-C logo, just in case anyone might have missed the auspicious origins of one's accessory of choice. Ditto: the Louis Vuitton scarf, which is rarely logo-shy.

If wearing a scarf à la British aristo/mid-century Hollywood screen siren seems a little too close to costume for comfort, madam – or should that be ma'am – might always like to tie her scarf to the shoulder strap of her handbag in the manner of the haute bourgeoisie, a woman who rests safe in the knowledge that the more expensive status symbols she carries with her on her travels the better.

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