Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s fashion parade continued Thursday as she crisscrossed the British capital for a charity lunch, a tour of Greenwich (including a quick smooch from her amorous husband, French President Nicholas Sarkozy) and another white-tie dinner. And Dior was clearly the winning brand — even though the French first lady ordered clothes from all of Paris’ couture houses, she wore only that label throughout the two-day jaunt — with a finale of a Dior bustier dress in Bordeaux mousseline of silk.
But her style had the British press eating out of her hand. While they splashed racy pictures of her all over their pages on Wednesday, 24 hours later the papers were turning entente cordiale into double entendre.
The praise bordered on the sycophantic, comparing Bruni-Sarkozy’s low-key elegance to that of Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn. They even gushed about her nice-but-naughty aura.
“Miss Bruni looked as demure as a convent girl, and as ready to be naughty if the spirit, or the Prince of Wales, moved her,” said The Daily Telegraph. “She managed to make everyone else appear overdressed.”
The Daily Mail didn’t hold back: “The ghosts of Henry VIII and other old royal rogues must have been wolf-whistling from the rafters….You can take the girl out of the studio, and put her in the Elysée Palace. But you can’t take the supermodel out of the girl.”
At a ladies’ lunch on Thursday, Bruni-Sarkozy — dressed in a gray cashmere jacket with silver belt, green wool and cashmere trousers and a purple jersey coat, all by Dior — gave her first public speech since her husband took office.
The lunch was hosted by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife, Sarah, at Lancaster House, a 19th-century, neoclassical mansion not far from St. James’s Palace. Bruni-Sarkozy spoke on behalf of The White Ribbon Alliance, a charity that aims to reduce the number of mother’s deaths during pregnancy and childbirth.
“You, in the face of all this, you are the hope,” Bruni-Sarkozy told guests including Annie Lennox, Lady Antonia Fraser, Sabrina Guinness, Lynn de Rothschild, Julia Peyton-Jones, Ruth Rogers, Miriam Stoppard, Tessa Jowell, Zaha Hadid, Kelly Hoppen, Tana Ramsay and Amanda Wakeley.“The speech was very endearing, and she delivered it in the most quiet, sexy, seductive voice,” said Wakeley, who met Bruni-Sarkozy as she made the rounds of the tables with Brown. “When she talks, she makes you want to lean forward and listen — she did very well.”
Lennox, dressed in a camel leather jacket and an A-line black skirt, called the lunch a “pleasant affair for a very interesting charity,” while Guinness called Carla “delightful.”
Guests, most of whom toted Chanel and Hermès Birkin bags, lunched in the gilded dining room on beetroot and goat cheese salad with spring peas, sweet pea shoots and citrus dressing; roast fillet of Cornish sea bass with salsa verde dressing, and apple cheesecake with cinnamon ice cream.
Bruni-Sarkozy wore the same gray and purple Dior outfit throughout the day, and one lunch guest even overheard France’s first lady lamenting — in a lighthearted tone, of course — that she didn’t even have time for a manicure before her big speech.
“Her hair wasn’t overblown or overdone — it looked like she’d done it herself — and I’m saying that in the nicest way possible. There wasn’t a real preciousness about her,” said Wakeley.
After lunch, Bruni-Sarkozy and her husband zoomed off to Greenwich to visit the Old Royal Naval College, where Sarkozy presented award-winning, British yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur with the Legion d’Honneur.
On Thursday evening, the couple attended their final engagement — a white-tie dinner at the Guildhall, the seat of the City of London government — hosted by the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London.
Guests included Cartier’s Arnaud Bamberger and his wife, Carla; Hadid; Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times; Sir Ian Blair, head of the Metropolitan Police, and Chanel’s Olivier Nicolay. The senior royals on hand were the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
In stark contrast to last night’s menu — which had a French flair — Thursday’s was decidedly British with honey-roasted quail, timbale of scallop and sea trout, tournedos of British beef and a trio of classic Anglo desserts, including marmalade crème brûlée, poor knights of Windsor — that’s fried bread to you and me — and treacle tart.Now Bruni-Sarkozy and her husband head back to Pariswhere the first lady and her beleaguered husband are unlikely to get the same kind of rapturous reception.
— With contributions from Laura Mitchell and Benjamin Canares
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews