The Spin | Nicolas Sarkozy
— June 22, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin
Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni at Pittsburgh G20 Summit Courtesy of The White House, Photography by Pete Souza
“A world where there is an election every six months – I feel for you: horrible, horrible, horrible!” So French president Nicolas Sarkozy is reported to have told Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld after awarding him the Legion of Honour. And he’s spot on – in fashion, you’re only as good as your last collection. The same applies to Sarkozy and his political colleagues – if they don’t please the electorate, they’re out. But Sarkozy has done all right for himself since sweeping to power in 2007.
More than anything, of course, he’s sorted himself out with a proper French beauty. Carla Bruni, ex-girlfriend of Mick Jagger, is not only a successful recording artist but also a former model. And fashion icon, too – no one pulls off deep purple quite like her. Sarkozy himself also looks pretty smart, but then again he lives in the unofficial fashion capital of the world, Paris.
The president’s most striking physical feature – or lack of it, perhaps – is his height. Sarkozy is reported to be only 5ft 5in tall, preferring shoes with a slight heel. And, allegedly, Bruni must wear flat shoes when seen in his company. A recent example of Sarkozy’s sensitivity on this issue was made public when he was photographed standing on a box behind a speaking pulpit, just after taking over from the tall US president, Barack Obama.
But Sarkozy’s status as a style icon is somewhat undecided. In the past he has been voted both one of the “best dressed” in Vanity Fair and placed at the bottom of a similar list by GQ magazine. Bruni, on the other hand, is of course universally lauded for her sense of style, and is only matched on the worldwide political (spouse) stage by Michelle Obama. Mind you, of the two associated gents Sarkozy is the more stylish, his 2007 inauguration suit rumoured to have been Prada. But you can own as many fancy suits as you like, Nicolas – you’re merely stealing Kim Jong-il’s look when you wear those platform shoes…
David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics