x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Carla Bruni - the dress code

The wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, transforms from a boho chic songstress to fashion's first lady.

Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The wife of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, completes her transformation from boho chic songstress to fashion's first lady. Hat Echoing the UK royals' tendency to don hats at any opportunity, Bruni's sweet grey beret was a demure concession to her elders' superiority as well as a throwback to her Swiss finishing school days. It was also, of course, deliberately reminiscent of the classic pillbox favoured by the inventor of First Lady chic, Jackie Kennedy.

Hair The simple, loose locks pulled back beneath that beret, with a long schoolgirl fringe highlighting the eyes, plays down Bruni's actual age (40). This little-girl charm clearly enchanted the British Royals and defied the accusations of vulgarity that have hounded her husband.

Coat In slate-grey tweed, the knee-length overcoat by Dior was a masterstroke. Mirroring the Queen's signature style when they met in Britain recently (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all), Bruni's strict cut and prim Peter Pan collar looked modest and discreet. But let no one accuse her of dowdiness: she scored plenty of fashion points with the 50s-style fold that ran over the collar, the ridged seams and the thin black belt cinching in her tiny waist. (Interestingly, later in the trip, having won over the British press, she swapped her subtle grey for imperial purple, trouncing Queen Elizabeth's merely royal blue.)

Gloves The butter-soft sheen of Bruni's leather gloves (which were, like her entire wardrobe for the trip, provided by Dior) simply expressed exquisite taste and unlimited budget.

Bag A spectacular example of a classic public figure handbag (a far cry from her folksy look of a few years ago) is brought up to date with bang-on-trend ring handles.

Shoes Pretty black suede ballet pumps look ladylike and dainty with this ensemble (though only a former model would be able to pull off those proportions). Of course, the reputed 10cm difference in height between Bruni and the diminutive Sarkozy had absolutely nothing to do with her choice of shoe. Style was the only consideration.