Carla Bruni certainly made her mark as one of the more, uh, contentious first ladies ever to hit French office: the longtime singer and model, not to mention the heiress to an industrial dynasty, made ceaseless waves with her swank wardrobe, party-girl past, and dubious intentions when she wed recently divorced French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Sarkozy vacated office earlier this year (in favor of François Hollande, whose own live-in girlfriend has stirred up quite a bit of national strife herself), but his disheartening political demise was far and away from the last we’ve seen of the couple — Mr. and Mrs. Sarkozy have recently found themselves mired in allegations of corruption over illegal cash donations the former president may or may not have received from Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to L’Oreal and France’s richest woman. And if you thought the disgraced couple’s public humiliation saturation point had maxed out (one would assume, after their mansion and offices were raided by police last month), well, it’s time to reconsider. Keep reading »
Breathalyzers aren’t just for the po-po any more: In France, a new law requires every driver to carry two breathalyzers in their car. The intent to decrease the amount of drunk driving accidents by having drivers test themselves with breathalyzers before they decide to drive home inebriated. Keep reading »
The production of counterfeit luxury goods is a criminal offense, and designers have always been vocal in their condemnation of the practice. Last week, Prada chief executive officer (and Miuccia’s husband) Patrizio Bertelli stoked controversy when he shared his opinion on the matter, saying, “Fake goods aren’t totally bad; at least it created jobs at some counterfeit factories.” He went on to reason, “We don’t want to be a brand that nobody wants to copy.” When questions arose, a Prada spokesman justified Bertelli’s statement, proceeding to say that “the quote is part of an extended conversation” that acknowledged the way in which “the market of counterfeits is an objective reality for successful brands and how this phenomenon has its own reality, also in terms of manufacturing, that is very structured.” This kind of progressive attitude, previously unheard of amongst the high fashion flock, is a natural extension of the fact that these activities will continue to exist, so why not put a positive spin on it? Keep reading »
“Think Like A Man,” the new
Tyler Perry romantic comedy [Update: based on a book by Steve Harvey] about black women and men, has allegedly been banned in France because officials say the film is not diverse enough. According to blogger Fabienne Flessel at the blog Global Voices:
Surprising as it may be, the answer lies in the fact that the film has an all-black cast. French cinema is often pointed at for not fairly displaying all components of the country’s multiethnic population.
It is unclear, though, whether “Think Like A Man” has literally been banned, or if it just is not being screened. But the Global Voices blogger and several other French-speaking bloggers quoted/translated in his article seem adamant that someone in a position of power in France is uninterested in promoting films by and about black folks. One blogger claims “Tyler Perry’s movies are never scheduled in any French movie theaters or are only released in DVDs, even thought he has been used to leading the U.S. box office.” Keep reading »
It grieves me to see Nicolas Sarkozy leave French office, and why? Because I am positively enraptured by his wife (okay, fine, I’m also really worried about what this means for anti-Semitism in France). Her life (and Wikipedia page) reads like a dramatic novel: a nine-year-old heiress to a tire fortune moves to Paris to flee a wave of kidnappings by a revolutionary group active in Italy and later leaves her prestigious art school at age 19 to become a model. I’m sorry, is that a bit of an understatement? In the ’90s, Bruni earned an average of $7.5 million a year working for houses such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel, which landed her well among the ranks of the highest-paid fashion models. She dated both Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger at varying points during her career before quitting fashion in 1997 to become an incredibly successful pop singer in France.
Carla Bruni has always been influential, to say the least, but her worthy presence in the gossip pages was all but solidified in 2007 by her marriage to the newly divorced Sarkozy after a four-month courtship. The star underwent a sort of moral metamorphosis (before meeting Sarkozy, she had proclaimed herself as “forever left wing”) and has been tabloid fodder since, yielding criticism from every direction. Her luxe wardrobe sparked controversy as the nation succumbed to a recession, not to mention the publication of compromisingly risqué photographs from her modeling days. As far as First Ladies go, I daresay Bruni is — was — as scandalous as they come. She’s also the most chic, with a predisposition to innately glamorous, infinitely expensive dressing. Keep reading »