It was almost a given that The Duchess of Cambridge would have to succumb to Chanel at some point during her trip to Paris.
A Princess in the City of Light, the home of high fashion? How could she resist the capital’s most alluring label?
She could not. It came into play not for a glitzy evening reception but for a sedate daytime visit to Les Invalides. The Duchess chose a Chanel striped cotton tweed waisted frock coat with a box pleated skirt and bracelet sleeves in blue and red, to meet WWII veteran soldiers at the military hospital and survivors of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice on the second day of the Duke and Duchess’s official short tour of the city.
Afterwards they surprised Saturday morning tourists in the city with a visit to the Musee D’Orsay and then posed for a picture-postcard photograph with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
Her black belt bore the luxury brand’s signature interlocked double C, as did the small burgundy quilted leather top-handle bag she carried. She wore burgundy fringed block heeled pumps by Italian brand Tod’s, which Duchess-watchers - and there are many of them - are familiar with from previous outings.
She underlined her French luxury statement with a necklace, earrings and watch by Cartier - a jewellery house associated with the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson.
The coat looked like a modified version of a look from Chanel’s 2017 pre-Spring ready-to-wear collection, priced on the website at £8,350.
The Duchess has not officially worn Chanel before, although a cream jacket worn in Canada from her personal collection was said to be made by the brand. Today’s choice was met with approval by local media.
It was a subtle sartorial homage to the French capital and a diplomatic move on a Royal tour which some have described as a “charm offensive” ahead of the triggering of Article 50 and the beginnings of Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
On Friday the Duchess started the tour in British fashion labels, arriving in a Catherine Walker green coat she’d worn earlier in the day to a St Patrick’s day event in England and changing into a black Alexander McQueen sleeveless tweed dress for a reception at the British Embassy, hosted by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to France Patrick Llewellyn and his wife, Lady Anne Llewellyn.
The Duchess changed again into a sparkling silver-blue gown by designer Jenny Packham for the black-tie dinner given by the ambassador attended by, amongst others, actresses Kristen Scott-Thomas and Audrey Tatou.
Chanel’s long-standing and often outspoken creative director Karl Lagerfeld has in the past described The Duchess with approval but a slight disappointment in the carefulness of her sartorial choices. In the early days of the Royal couple’s marriage he described it as regretfully “right” that the future Queen chose to wear high street and mid-market clothing brands.
“People would say they spent too much money, you know?” he said in 2012. “We live in a strange world.” It will perhaps be feeling less so for Monsieur Lagerfield right about now.