Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is none too pleased that clothing maker Pardon is using a nude photo of her on a tote bag without her consent, and she’s seeking $167,000 in damages, which, if she wins her claim, would be donated to charity. The bag features a silk-screened version of a 1993 photograph taken during Bruni-Sarkozy’s modeling days. (A print of the photo sold for $91,000 in April.) A speech bubble coming out of the nude First Lady of France’s mouth reads, “My guy should have bought me Pardon!” Bruni-Sarkozy is protesting Pardon’s use of her image without her consent and for commercial gain, as the company sells the bags for around $4 and gives them to customers who make purchases in their stores.The nudity on the bags is on a par with Marc Jacobs’ T-shirts benefiting skin cancer awareness. But the nudity isn’t really the problem — although, of course, it may be a little degrading for Mrs. Sarkozy to have her nude image emblazoned on bags used to schlep groceries and non-designer clothing. Maybe the real reason Bruni-Sarkozy doesn’t want the totes to be sold and/or given away is because she has her own tote bag at Colette. In the meantime, the proceeds from the limited edition “Carla” bag, made of hessian and cotton in Khayelitsha, South Africa, go towards establishing a new cooperative there.
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