Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s tribute to Jackie Kennedy
Unsurprisingly, given Nicolas Sarkozy’s stature, there were no signs of this summer’s vertiginous wedge sandals or clothes befitting ‘une croquese d’hommes’, or man-eater, when France’s First Lady stepped off the plane at Heathrow this morning.
Instead, Carla Sarkozy appeared to be paying tribute to the Thunderbird’s Lady Penelope and to Jackie Kennedy by wearing an outfit eerily similar to one the Sixties style queen wore when she visited London in 1962.
As expected, her ensemble was dignified and elegant: contrary to rumours that she would be arriving with trunk-loads of Hermes she was pictured in a pale grey, belted, wool and jersey coat, pill-box hat and gloves, all by Dior. It was a diplomatic fashion choice since Dior is a revered French couture house, which is designed by the legendary Englishman John Galliano.
But was her First Lady image a little too conservative? The Sixties air hostess get-up is a look that has been peddled endlessly on the catwalks and more recently immortalised by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde 2. But at least it was a welcome change from the drab, single-breasted coat, jeans and loafers combo which has hitherto become Mrs Sarkozy’s uniform. And who other than a former super-model could wear a heavy wool coat with its unflattering calf length and team it with a pair of the flattest flats?
Yes, Carla could probably make a sack dress look glamorous but we should be sympathising because deciding what to wear today was always going to be a challenge beset by sartorial dilemmas. At 5ft 9 and being those crucial, few inches taller than her husband, Carla was never going to be able to finish her Dior outfit with Galliano’s towering skyscrapers – so high this season that even the models had trouble walking. Sarkozy spent the day in raised heels in any case.
Any added height on Carla would have also marked her out as taller than Prince Phillip, which would have made for a particularly comic line-up. One assumes that for royal protocol wearing a hat was a dead cert although something flattish (so as not add too much height) was also a stipulation.
So top marks for looking French, poised and sophisticated but not so twee and boring that she could be accused of not marking the occasion with the sartorial respect it deserved. And anyway, under that conservative and bourgeois demeanour, there’s always a hint of repressed sexuality or a killer dress dying to get out, at least in France there is.