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By
AFP
Published
Mar 26, 2008
Reading time
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Covered-up Carla woos critics in fashion stakes

By
AFP
Published
Mar 26, 2008

LONDON, March 26, 2008 (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy impressed fashion experts with her restrained glamour Wednesday as the French presidential couple arrived in Britain for a state visit.


M. Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni
Photo : Shaun Curry/AFP

There was agreement that she looked demure and dignified in a high-necked Christian Dior grey coat, matching hat, black belt and black gloves, on the day a nude photograph from her modelling days appeared in some British newspapers.

And although The Times' fashion correspondent's comparisons were less than flattering -- a "tribute to the Thunderbirds' Lady Penelope" and "Sixties air hostess get-up" -- she said the willowy former catwalk queen had nailed it.

"It was a diplomatic fashion choice, since Dior is a revered French couture house, which is designed by the legendary Englishman John Galliano," said deputy fashion editor Carolyn Asome on the newspaper's website.

Elsewhere she praised her for "looking French, poised and sophisticated" but not twee and boring that she could be accused of not marking the occasion with the sartorial respect it deserved".

Lucy Yeomans, editor of upmarket British fashion and lifestyle magazine Harper's Bazaar, said: "My first impression was that it was kind of Jackie Kennedy meets Madeline the little French schoolgirl.

"It was very elegant, but very, very safe, with all the accesories, like the gloves. I also thought it was eerily reminscent of the young Lady Diana when she was trying to do everything correctly."

"It was very beautifully tailored and in its way, very on-trend, but it was also a little bit nun-like," Yeomans added. "I don't know whether it was because she knows that there is this naked picture of her around."

The editor of Vogue.com, Dolly Jones, said that with media attention focused firmly on the 40-year-old, she was "perfectly demure... her tiny matching hat and rounded collar an elegant reference to Jackie O".

"She really looks the part, while the sober grey wool fabric of her coat dress blends into the British weather. She's certainly not trying to upstage anybody. That seems to be the message."

Image consultant Angela Marshall said the outfit, set off with black flat pumps to lessen the height difference with her husband as well as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was an attempt to strike the right note.

"I would say that it is very simple, very elegant and she is trying to play it safe," said Marshall. "The only comment I would make is that although it is fashionable, I would have preferred to have seen her hair up."

A number of British tabloid newspapers on Wednesday published a full-frontal nude photograph of her dating from 1993, to be sold by Christie's auction house. Presidential aides declined to comment on the image.

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