When Pope Benedict XVI appeared in a cold St Peters square for his final audience before Christmas, the more than 20,000 faithful were delighted to see that the he was wearing a camauro, a papal hat dating from the middle ages, which no pope has worn in public since Pope John XXIII, who died in 1963. The winter camauro is a closely fitting small hat made from red velvet, lined and trimmed with white ermine, which is reserved for popes instead of the biretta.

Vatican watchers have had their eye on new trends in dress, ever since Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger conducted the funeral service of Pope John Paul II. Apart from a few small, sartorial mistakes just after his election, his attire has been faultless.

The new pope is always immaculately turned out, down to his red leather shoes, which are reputedly made for him by the famous Italian fashion house Prada. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December the pope wore a mozzetta for the first time, a short white damask cloak trimmed with ermine, when he went to pay homage to the statue of the Virgin Mary at Piazza Minghanelli in Rome.