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Italian model Marpessa, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Carla Bruni, and Cindy Crawford at a Versace gala, 1992. Photo: Marina Garnier

Back in 1992, Carla Bruni (b. 1967) – First Lady of France, Italian heiress, international supermodel, singer – was romantically linked to Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

At the time, Jagger was married to supermodel Jerry Hall, who blamed Carla for the breakup of her marriage.

“Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.” (1)

Nevertheless, when interviewed by Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair that November, Bruni vigorously denied having an affair with Mick, although the press and close friends confirmed the affair.

At the time of the interview, Carla was flying high as an international supermodel, making over a million dollars a year. She had been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and was seen that month gliding down about 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections.

The video clip below shows Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) on the runway 1991-1995. Fashion designers featured include Dior, Versace, Chanel, Chantal Thomas.

Before Jagger, Bruni had been linked romantically linked to Donald Trump (when married to Marla Maples) and Eric Clapton.

Carla Bruni and Eric Clapton at a benefit for rain forests about 1992.

Clearly, the publicity had not hurt her career, Bruni confessed to Vanity Fair:

“‘A knife has two sides, the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts….

Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.'”(1)

(1) Colacello, Bob.  “La Dolce Carla.” Vanity Fair, November, 1992.

Readers: For more on Carla Bruni, click here.

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Wallis Warfield marries the former King Edward VIII of Britain on June 3, 1937, in France. The day before the wedding, the Prince's brother, the new British king, George VI, sent him a letter granting him and Wallis new titles: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The titles were hollow; there was no dominion of Windsor to rule. Even worse: the King's letter contained a bomb - the Prince, despite his abdication of the throne, could continue to "hold and enjoy...the title, style or attribute of Royal Highness," but his bride, the Duchess, could not, nor could any of their offspring. She, though a duchess, was denied what her sister-in-laws would enjoy - that her name would be preceded by the magic initials 'H.R.H.' "What a damnable wedding present!" Windsor shouted. (J.Bryan III and Charles J.V. Murphy,

Wallis Warfield (Simpson) marries the former King Edward VIII of Britain on June 3, 1937, in France, after he gave up the British throne to be with her. Wallis Warfield Simpson was an American divorcee. For the King to have married her and tried to install her as his Queen would have precipitated a constitutional crisis in Great Britain....The wedding day dawned bright and sunny. It was Wallis' third wedding; her dress was not white but blue. Blue was also the mood. The day before the wedding, the former king's brother, the new British king, George VI, sent Edward a letter granting him and Wallis new titles: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The titles were hollow; there was no dominion of Windsor to rule. Even worse: the King's letter contained a bomb - the former king, now titled the Duke, despite his abdication of the throne, could continue to "hold and enjoy...the title, style or attribute of Royal Highness," but his bride, the Duchess, could not, nor could any of their offspring. She, though a duchess, was denied what her sister-in-laws would enjoy - that her name would be preceded by the magic initials 'H.R.H.' At her entrance, no women had to curtsey, no men to bow. She would not be referred to as "Her Highness" but with the lower form of "Her Grace." "What a damnable wedding present!" Windsor shouted upon reading the King's letter. (Bryan III, J. and Murphy, Charles J.V., The Windsor Story. New York: Dell, 1979.)

In 1937, after King Edward VIII had given up the British throne to marry his American divorcee, Wallis Warfield Simpson, the two tiny, trim party animals were exiled to France, where they were doomed to live a life of idle nothingness. They were given the new but hollow titles of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Accustomed to a lifetime of adulation and privilege yet denied a kingdom, the Duke (and the Duchess), set about creating an imaginary realm of their own that would given them the validation they craved as royals. This new kingdom:

“…was a region whose borders were outlined in society pages, peopled mostly by glamorous nobodies lucky enough to have been born into wealth. It was an ornamental place, whose citizens, according to Andrew Bolton, the curator of ”Blithe Spirit” [a past costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum], were unsurpassed ”in the beauty, elegance and craftsmanship” of their dress. For self-indulgence, they were also hard to beat.”

The people who congregated around the Duke and Duchess were dubbed the “Windsor set.” They were all-consumed with the photographic image.

“They arranged those lives to suit the lens. Voluntarily estranged from the real aristocracy, the Duke of Windsor, with the aid of his wife, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson, set up a parallel court composed of people like Elsie de Wolfe, the interior decorator and social arbiter; Mona Bismarck, a gorgeous adventuress who was the daughter of a stableman on a Kentucky horse farm; and Daisy Fellowes, whose fortune derived from sewing machines and who had the distinction of being one of the first people on record to alter her nose surgically.”

the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at home with their precious pug dogs. The Duchess, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson, often appeared in her stylish best in public with a pug tucked under one arm. It became a fashion trend - to carry a dog around with you when away from home.

the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at home with their precious pug dogs. The Duchess, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson, often appeared in her stylish best in public with a pug tucked under one arm. It became a fashion trend - to carry a dog around with you when away from home.

Granted, the Windsors were despicable people, dining with Adolf Hitler in 1937 and hobnobbing with fellow Nazi sympathizers and British ex-pats Oswald Mosley and wife Diana Mitford. Nevertheless, the Duke and Duchess – and their fancy friends – obsessed with clothing,  had tremendous style.

Adolf Hitler kisses the hand of the Duchess of Windsor as her husband the Duke looks on, admiringly. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited Germany in 1937 before WWII broke out across Europe. They were outspoken supporters of Nazi fascism and suspected of spying for Germany. At the beginning of the war, the Windsors were whisked out of France to safe haven in the Bahamas, where the Duke served out the war years as governor. There he could do Britain little harm - and he was less likely of being kidnapped by the Germans who were reportedly interested in installing him as a puppet king in a conquered Great Britain under German rule.

Adolf Hitler kisses the hand of the Duchess of Windsor as her husband the Duke looks on, admiringly. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited Germany in 1937 before WWII broke out across Europe. They were outspoken supporters of Nazi fascism and suspected of spying for Germany. At the beginning of the war, the Windsors were whisked out of France to safe haven in the Bahamas, where the Duke served out the war years as governor. There he could do Britain little harm - and he was less likely of being kidnapped by the Germans who were reportedly interested in installing him as a puppet king in a conquered Great Britain under German rule.

Fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (French, 1883-1971) at Lido Beach in 1936

Fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (French, 1883-1971) at Lido Beach in 1936

"Evening Dress," 1938. Gabrielle ("Coco") Chanel. Black Silk Net with Polychrome Sequins. The Metropolitan Museum of ARt, New York. Special Exhibit: "Blithe Spirit: The Windsor Set" The decoration of sequined fireworks on this evening dress, which was worn by the Countess Madeleine de Montgomery to Lady Mendl's seventy-fifth birthday party in 1939, is a fitting climax to le beau monde of the 1930s. It was the end of an era when, on Sept. 1, 1939, Parisians heard an early-morning radio announcemen from Herr Hitler in German, at once translated into French, that "as of this moment, we are at war with Poland." The thirties were over; the Second World War had begun.

"Evening Dress," 1938. Gabrielle ("Coco") Chanel. Black Silk Net with Polychrome Sequins. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Special Exhibit: "Blithe Spirit: The Windsor Set" The decoration of sequined fireworks on this evening dress, which was worn by the Countess Madeleine de Montgomery to Lady Mendl's seventy-fifth birthday party in 1939, is a fitting climax to le beau monde of the 1930s. It was the end of an era when, on Sept. 1, 1939, Parisians heard an early-morning radio announcement from Herr Hitler in German, at once translated into French, that "as of this moment, we are at war with Poland." The thirties were over; the Second World War had begun.

The Windsors were famous for their elegant Paris dinner parties, creating a demand for expensive clothes and jewels for them and their guests. Thus, the prewar years in France from 1935-1940 were rich in the decorative arts, putting trendy fashion designers front and center. It was a time when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was “rethinking the suit” to allow for the way women really move and Elsa Schiaparelli* was designing lobster dresses with surrealist Salvador Dali.*

Then Hitler invaded Poland and World War II shattered the fantasy world of endless cocktail parties and silk and organza gowns made to order. The Germans invaded and occupied France.

Shockingly, Coco Chanel spent the war years living at the Ritz in Paris with a Nazi officer. After the war was over, Chanel was arrested by the free French for suspicion of collaborating with the Nazis. She purportedly offered this explanation for sleeping with the enemy:

 “Really, sir, a woman of my age cannot be expected to look at his passport if she has a chance of a lover.”

It is generally believed that Winston Churchill  intervened with the French government, convincing them to let his old friend Coco Chanel escape to Switzerland rather than be paraded through the streets of Paris with her head shaved like other female Nazi collaborators.

Women accused of being Nazi collaborators are humiliated after the liberation of France, 1944. © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

Women accused of being Nazi collaborators are humiliated after the liberation of France, 1944. © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

Jackie Kennedy in her pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat, riding through Dallas in a motorcade just minutes before a sniper kills her husband, President John F. Kennedy

Fast forward 19 years. It's November 22, 1963. Jackie Kennedy,* in her pink Chanel suit and pillbox hat, is riding through Dallas in a motorcade just minutes before a sniper kills her husband, President John F. Kennedy

*For more on the Kennedys on this blog, please see right sidebar – Categories – People  – the Kennedys.
See “Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor,” which follows this blog post.

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French President Nicolas Sarkost arrives at Versailles Palace on June 22, 2009, to address Parliament. H condemned the use of the burqa in France, calling it an unacceptable symbol of "enslavement."

French President Nicolas Sarkosy arrives at Versailles Palace on June 22, 2009, to address Parliament. He condemned the use of the burqa in France, calling it an unacceptable symbol of "enslavement."

On June 22, 2009, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France arrived at Versailles Palace to address legislators, the first presidential appearance before Parliament since 1875. To protect the independence of lawmakers, presidents had been barred from entering Parliament since Charles Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte’s reign. Reforms carried out by Sarkozy’s party last summer, though, opened the way for him to speak to Parliament. (1)

Mr. Sarkozy entered through rows of French guards with raised swords and plumed helmets, then delivered an American-style state-of-the-nation address. In a sober, far-ranging speech, he spoke about the economy and his vision for the future of France. He saved his strongest comments for the most hotly-debated social issue in France:  the burqa. The burqa is a Muslim head-to-toe garment that some women wear to cloak their bodies and faces. Sarkozy’s declaration, “The burqa is not welcome in France,” was met with enthusiastic applause.

Two Afghan Women Wearing Burqas

Two Afghan Women Wearing Burqas

“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” Sarkozy told Parliament. “”That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity. The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue. It is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity,” Mr. Sarkozy said. The burka is not a religious sign. It is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission, of women.”

Mr Sarkozy gave his backing to the establishment of a parliamentary commission to study the burqa and methods to stem its spread. In 2004, France banned Islamic headscarves in its state schools. France is home to five million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

Two women, one wearing the niqab, a veil worn by the most conservative Muslims that exposes only a woman's eyes, right, walk side by side, in the Belsunce district of downtown Marseille, central France, Friday June 19, 2009. The French government's spokesman says he favors the creation of a parliamentary commission to study the small but growing trend of burqa wear in France. Luc Chatel says the commission could possibly propose legislation aimed at banning the burqa and other fully covering garments worn by some Muslim women.

Two women, one wearing the niqab, a veil worn by the most conservative Muslims that exposes only a woman's eyes, right, walk side by side, in downtown Marseille, on June 19, 2009. In France, the terms burka and niqab are often used interchangeably – the former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan with a mesh screen over the eyes, while the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with a gap for the eyes.A parliamentary commission may study the small but growing trend of burqa wear in France and could propose legislation aimed at banning the burqa and other fully covering garments worn by some Muslim women. The study aims to discover whether the women wear the burka by choice or out of fear.

(1) “Sarkozy Backs Drive to Eliminate the Burqa.” The New York Times, June 23, 2009.

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Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace

 As I mentioned in my recent post, “President Barack and Michelle Obama Give Queen Elizabeth an IPod,” the Obamas have visited Buckingham Palace and met with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. As the two couples mingled with other diplomats in London for the Group of 20 Meeting, First Lady Michelle Obama reached out and touched the Queen on her back. The Queen responded warmly, wrapping her right arm around Michelle’s waist. Those listening to the two women say that the Queen remarked on how tall Michelle is. They also were looking down and talking about their shoes.

Everyone’s buzzing about this historic moment: Michelle Obama touched the Queen! Royal protocol demands that no one touch the Queen. Even her royal consort, Prince Philip, must walk several paces behind her when the two are in public.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and General Charles DeGaulle at a dinner at Versailles, France, June 1, 1961.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and General Charles DeGaulle at a dinner at Versailles, France, June 1, 1961.

All this attention to the Obamas and their first visit to  Europe as the First Couple takes me back to 1961 when President John Fitzgerald and Jacqueline (pronounced JAK LEEN’) Bouvier Kennedy made a state visit to France. Jackie Kennedy mesmerized the French with her style and elegance. She spoke fluent French and boasted a paternal French bloodline (Bouvier). Jackie was so charming that she even won the heart of President Charles DeGaulle, a man not easily conquered. At a dinner at the Elysee Palace, DeGaulle talked extensively to Jackie, then turned to President Kennedy and said,  “Your wife knows more French history than any French woman.”

Jackie Kennedy so upstaged John on their trip overseas that the President joked, “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” Upon the Kennedys’ return to America, their popularity soared. The American public – and the rest of the world – had fallen in love with Jackie. To this day, she remains an American idol.

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eugenie
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Mary Todd Lincoln slavishly followed the fashion lead of the Empress Eugénie, Empress Consort of France (1853-1871), the wife of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French. The empress’ style was reported in detail by the Vogue magazine of the day, Godey’s Lady’s Book. In 1860, age 32, the Empress Eugénie was considered one of the most beautiful women in Europe. At a ball, she outshone all other women. It was said that every man was in love with her. Her friend, the Princess de Metternich recalled that, on one occasion, the empress was

“attired in a white gown spangled with silver and dressed with her most beautiful diamonds. She had carelessly thrown over her shoulders a sort of burnous of white embroidered with gold, and the murmurs of admiration followed her like a trail of lighted gunpowder.”

In 1862, the Empress Eugénie set the fashion world on fire. She appeared at the races, one of the biggest social events of the year, without a shawl, a bold move for a society woman, especially for an empress. She was wearing an elegant, off-the-shoulder gown by the very up-and-coming couturier Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman who had recently opened the haute couture shop, “The House of Worth,” in Paris. The empress did not want the lovely gown hidden from view. The world of fashion took note. “The streets of Paris were soon buzzing with ladies without shawls.”

From her childhood days, Mary Todd Lincoln adored being the center of male attention. Once she became the First Lady, she longed to become a fashion trend setter. Ignoring the dowdy style of the English Queen Victoria, she modeled herself after Empress Eugénie, sticking flowers in her hair and bodice, piling on the jewels, and opting for expensive gowns that dipped in the bust and shoulder. Husband Abraham Lincoln called Mary’s dresses her “cat-tails.” Mary tried hard to be fashionably dressed but she was generally displeased with the result; the hooped dresses and yards of fabric swamped her short frame and the excess jewelry and ornamentation was overwhelming.

Mary Todd Lincoln in a photograph by Mathew Brady, November 1861, in a heavy white silk dress onto which Washington modiste Elizabeth Keckley had sewn 60 velvet bows and countless black dots.

Mary Todd Lincoln in a photograph by Mathew Brady, November 1861, in a heavy white silk dress onto which modiste Elizabeth Keckley had sewn 60 velvet bows and countless black dots.

Mary’s departure from the high-necked muslins worn by Western women brought swift condemnation from Oregon Senator James Nesmith, a guest at an 1862 East Room reception, who wrote to his wife of the 43-year-old “weak-minded Mrs. Lincoln and her sorry show of skin and bones. She had her bosom on exhibition, a flower pot on her head – There was a train of silk dragging on the floor behind her of several yards in length.” Mary Lincoln, continued the senator, who used to “cook Old Abe’s dinner and milk the cows,” now seemed eager “to exhibit her milking apparatus to public gaze.”

Mary’s plunging necklines caught Abe’s eye, too. “Whew,” he is quoted as saying, “our cat has a long tail tonight – if some of that tail was nearer the head, it would be in better style.”

(1) Baker, Jean H. Mary Todd Lincoln. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1987)

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