I bought Marabella her first proper coat (was it really three autumns ago?) in Veneto, in the north. We were caught out in a cold snap and the shrewd but always gracious proprietor of the one and only children’s wear shop in Asolo was only too pleased to help me and one rather fortunate signorina out of a jam.
But the chance acquisition of a beautiful navy blue wool trench coat, with sash belt and side pockets at a price I would have thought twice about spending on myself, turned out to be a fashion investment par excellence. It didn’t matter what we put that coat with either. From jeans and sneakers to a party dress and ballet flats, it all worked. That coat was nothing if not versatile and whenever she wore it Marabella only ever looked her age. It almost seemed to grow with her. It was a child’s coat. Not a trumped-up, scaled-down, mini-me moment in fashion land, but an heirloom.
Our stylish friend is approaching retirement now as Mara grows, but we have precious memories of our outings together in Italy. Or at least I have as the one who gathered up the nods and knowing smiles of smart signore who clearly knew a thing or two about such things. And there were overt remarks too. Like the Florentine gentleman who paid me his compliments as Marabella stood at the bar of Caffe Giacosa, intent on her spremuta d’arancia, oblivious. The very picture of a child.