The Walpole Awards for Excellence 2011, in association with Coutts, was a timely reminder in these straitened times that quality never goes out of vogue. At the Banqueting House on Whitehall, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, designer of Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress, The Goring, where she spent the eve of her wedding, and the Royal Opera House, among others, swept up awards for contributions to an industry born and raised in Britain.

Walpole represents the British luxury industry, using established brands to mentor up-and-coming names, and, sporting my grandmother’s pearls in my ears and my new Rupert Sanderson shoes, I truly felt part of the evening.

One could ask whether, in this age of austerity, we should be turning away from luxury. However, Country Life readers know that quality is always worth investing in-most of us have much-loved guns, watches and jewellery that have been handed down through the generations and are irreplaceable.

There’s no reason we can’t do the same for our children. We need to renew pride in British craftsmanship in producing items that last and experiences to treasure, whether it’s a pair of Purdeys, a Mulberry handbag or an evening at Annabel’s. The best will always last.

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