Handbagged

Who would deny that the Italians are the most stylish people on earth? The French have their claims, but are let down by a certain, how shall we say, pompousness. The Latin Americans are a little too excitable. The Italians, though: the Italians can even get away with polenta.

Who would deny that the Italians are the most stylish people on earth? The French have their claims, but are let down by a certain, how shall we say, pompousness. The Latin Americans are a little too excitable. The Italians, though: the Italians can even get away with polenta.

Prada, Armani, Fendi and Ferrari: when the land of such as these delivers a style judgement, we must take note. So welcome a new international style icon: the British Handbag. In Rome and Milan, they have looked at the Queen, who has been visiting; they have observed the hats and pearls; and they have fallen madly for her arm accessory, which is made in Walsall.

We thoroughly approve. The handbag bears all the leading British characteristics: it is useful for keeping people at a distance; its exterior betrays nothing of its interior; it is highly practicable, as both Lady Bracknell and Mary Poppins could testify; and it can also be pressed into service, figuratively or literally, as an offensive weapon, in the manner of Lady Thatcher and the late Dick Emery, when he wore a skirt. High time that Her Majesty instituted the Order of the Handbag.

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