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 »