This made me laugh:
Pope Benedict XVI is not your most obvious nomination as style icon. In his papal cassock he hardly cuts the continental dash of a brooding Jose Mourinho or musters up the tailored swagger of a pin-striped, suited and booted Bill Nighy.
And yet, despite the Vatican’s assertions that the Pope is not concerned with frivolity and only pays a great deal of attention to his clothing because of its liturgical significance, it was hardly going to go unnoticed that the Pope used to cross St. Peter’s Square from his office to his flat wearing a black beret and black overcoat. Why? Because it’s a sartorial combination that immediately evokes ‘Gallic charm meets the Beatniks’.
Similarly, canny fashion observers will have noted that his shoes of choice weren’t Prada – as the rumours went – but were made by a local Italian cobbler. In stealth wealth terms, it’s infinitely more sophisticated to choose an artisanal product – with all the attention to detail and quality that is usually associated with buying something handmade – than settling for a brand that any WAG could get her hands on. The intention might not have been there but it’s interesting that Pope Benedict opts for the non-label rather than just any label. As for those Geox trainers or the Serengeti sunglasses, well the jury’s still out on their fashion merit but we should remember that he lives surrounded by Italy, and that most Italians are partial to a trainer with a hint of bling.
It’s the resurrection of the lurtigical headgear that appears to be creating the biggest storm: the sorry reality, however, is that the fur trims on his Caumaro hat are more likely to anger anti-fur protesters than fashion spectators. But coming from a Church that likes its menfolk to wear elaborately embroidered robes, should that surprise us? Colour is celebrated (purple during Advent and Lent, and red during Pentecost). What’s more eery, nay coincidental, is how this austerity (black/minimal tailoring) mixed with a fusion of berry shades just happens to be very Autumn/Winter 2008 – or at least on the catwalks.