COMMENT ZOE STRIMPEL

PICK the right It Girl and you’re in clover. For Mulberry, it was the Alexa satchel designed in honour of the style icon and TV presenter Alex Chung that hurled the company into the luxury retail stratosphere – profits quadrupled in 2010 thanks to that willowy fashionista.

But it’s not just the Alexa Effect (yes, that’s a bona fide term) that has made Mulberry the must-have brand for bag-sporters of both sexes.

It’s its perfectly coiffed Englishness: with a factory in Somerset and a distinctly non-Italian name, cool (and posh) Britannia veritably oozes from Mulberry.

With Asian expansion a key strategy for all ambitious luxury brands, Chinese tastes matter – a lot.

The Chinese may be thrashing us economically, but when it comes to style, they want what we’ve got: heritage, class, history, tradition, craftsmanship.

And in those supple, textured, structured pieces of leather, crowned with that little mulberry bush, they seem to find those things.

Mulberry is inexpensive by couture standards – next to Prada, Gucci, Balenciaga and Hermes, it’s almost affordable.

You can do very nicely for under £1,000 – the Alexa satchel in “nightshade blue silky snake” costs £950, for example. And in the world of luxury fashion brands, that’s saying something.