As spectators speculated on her bridal gown at the Paris catwalks, Kate Middleton opted for a more homegrown and traditional look this week as she ventured out to meet her public on Shrove Tuesday.
The royal bride-to-be tossed a pancake in Belfast, muffled up against the Irish cold in a sleek Burberry trenchcoat. And, in a sign of her influence as an emerging trend-setter, the garment has since sold out in Middleton-esque sizes (6, 8 and 10) on Burberry's website.
The label, which showed off its autumn/winter 2011 collection in London last month, has a history of being worn by the rich and famous, not to mention the royals. Indeed, Kate's future grandmother-in-law is also a fan of Burberry's classic wares.
The younger woman's choice, however, was something more contemporary – a double-breasted model made from beige wool, with a frilled, waved hem and an aviator-style buckle across the collar.
Kate's coat is a way off the original army-issue version (the trenchcoat started as a practical gabardine raincoat which came as standard issue during the First World War – hence its name): fresh from the label's spring/summer collection, her coat cost £650 and is now available in the shops.
Burberry has lately become known for kitting out the in-crowd as well as soldiers and royals. Recent advertising campaigns have featured Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and, previously, a gaggle of up-and-coming British faces, including the model, Agyness Deyn, and the socialite-turned-hunting-lobbyist Otis Ferry (the son of Roxy Music's Bryan). Burberry's signature checked lining and beige hue have become a byword for uptown elegance and grungy modern cool.
So Kate is in good company, then, and has also styled her coat according to the latest fashion directive from the catwalks – that is, to modishly loop the end of one's belt through one's waistband to add a bit of determined but debonair insouciance. Top marks for effort, Kate.