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Out on the town with the in-crowd.

LIVING the high life of a teenage toff like Prince William can be a complicated - and expensive - business.

First there's grooming to think about - which designer labels to wear and which top hair salon to visit.

Then there's the question of where to be seen and who to be seen with.

When Prince Charles was 17, he rebelled simply by sipping a few sherries at isolated Gordonstoun.

But, at the same age, Prince William's social scene is far more advanced.

He and his friends from Eton - with a Rothschild among them, just in case they forget their cash - visit the trendy K-Bar chain, which has a nightclub in Soho and handy outposts in Fulham, Chelsea and Wimbledon.

Regulars there fork out pounds 5.50 for a Vodka & Red Bull, pounds 6 for a Pimms, or go for champagne at pounds 9 a glass.

This is not the place to ask for a half pint of lager, nor to expect much change from pounds 100 for a night out.

Wills and his buddies would steer clear of the Met Bar - full of has-beens in search of a headline - and other Soho media haunts where you'd be snapped up by the paparazzi.

If one must have one's picture taken, it should be by Tatler.

They will go to Marco Pierre White's Titanic restaurant and bar at a push. But won't stay late and won't drink at the bar which is crushed by overpaid estate agents and City workers.

Wills' team of young aristos often start the evening with a free tipple. They are always invited to opening nights by picture galleries, where the guest list is seriously double-barrelled.

A few glasses of gratis bubbly in return for gazing at a row of bizarre-looking daubings is viewed a fair exchange.

But a typical night for the young jet set would be early evening drinks, followed by a trip to the cinema and a restaurant in Fulham or Chelsea.

The young and privileged also tend to hit the dinner party circuit, that bastion of the middle-aged, long before their time. They have two key advantages here - they are mannered and at ease in company ... and most of them have their own flats with staff to cook and wash up.

Despite having names that resonate through European history, most of Wills' brigade are publicity shy. So they prefer to surface in packs when there is safety in numbers, at private parties or polo matches.

These are a kind of village fair for the aristocracy, a chance to let the hair down and mix freely with those on a lower social plain - Lords and Ladies, for instance.

It's also a chance to test drive new trends, while having the safety net of being able to pretend that fashion disasters were simply won on the tombola.

Maybe that explains the pounds 110 Oakley shades Wills sported at the Cartier polo meeting at Windsor. Anyone ahead of the fashion game will tell you that design is last year's model.

Wills can buy the best, but even he can't buy style and needs help if he is to be truly trendy.

With his athletic six-foot frame and his mothers good looks, he is unusually handsome for a royal. He may have entered a triathalon in a hi-tech, handmade wet suit, but, deep down, he is as old-fashioned as his father.

Wills shops at the outlets his conservative elders favour.

Shirts come from Turnbull & Asser in London's Jermyn Street, established 1885. Ready-to-wear ranges from pounds 55 to pounds 125, bespoke Egyptian cotton shirts start at pounds 110.

Suits come from Gieves & Hawkes (the "G" is sounded hard, sir) which has been trading from No.1 Savile Row for 200 years. Off-the-peg costs pounds 500 to pounds 1,200, bespoke begins at pounds 2,500.

Haircuts are a snip at pounds 75, but Wills prefers gentleman barbers to leather-trousered crimpers.

There is a simple guide to observe if you want to be like Prince William. Fashion must be "simple, elegant, classic".

So don't expect Wills to march out of Buckingham Palace looking like Liam Gallagher just yet, despite those shady sunglasses.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Buckland, Danny
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 27, 1999
Previous Article:Treasured shirt is on way home.
Next Article:IS HE STILL THE PEOPLE'S PRINCE?; He's losing the common touch as royals begin to close ranks.

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