Michelle Obama vs. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: A Draw

By Adele

Now that we’ve seen the evening wear competition, Michelle Obama‘s quirky fashion unsense must be giving Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the First Lady of France, some food for thought.

"Check the guest room. The drapes have been stolen!"

"Check the guest room. The drapes have been stolen!"

Carla was in no danger of being out-classed by Michelle’s coat, which looked like it might have been a gift from Queen Elizabeth straight out of her late mother’s closet. Michelle can pull off loud prints, but that pussy bow (yes, that’s what they’re called) put it over the top for fussy. Carla’s similar bow, on the other hand, looked trés chic with her simple gray coat.

Is Carla (right) going for the Maria Von Trapp look?

Is Carla (right) going for the Maria Von Trapp look?

Michelle scored points with patent-leather kitten heels (my favorite, naturally). Carla’s flats were Dior, but price isn’t what counts. Flats with any dress look dowdy.

Who's looking at Carla now?

Who's looking at Carla now?

Once the coats came off, Michelle’s fuschia dress was fabulous. With her sleek hairdo and large, friendly presence, Michelle made Carla seem almost limp and mousy.

Shirley Temple or Joe Namath? You decide.

Shirley Temple or Joe Namath? You decide.

That evening there was a NATO function in Baden Baden, Germany. Michelle’s sleeveless, full skirted frock wasn’t bad, although a bit girlish for her age.

You can tell Carla's had more practice at this. (Photo - Michael Sohn, AP)

You can tell Carla's had more practice at this. (Photo - Michael Sohn, AP)

But Carla hit it out of the park, achieving just the right quietly elegant tone with a modest, yet stunning, black dress and contrasting evening bag.

After Michelle’s get-ups in England, I expected Carla to mop the floor with her, but it didn’t happen. However, it could have been a fashion blood-bath if Michelle hadn’t had the good sense to lose the Marge Simpson beads and the cardigans.


33 Responses to Michelle Obama vs. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: A Draw

  1. Adele says:

    Adele, I actually thought both First Ladies’ evening outfits were stunning. I think I don’t mind Michelle in full-ish skirts, as long as the skirt is part of a dress, and the dress is a solid color. I agree about the coat that was part of Michelle’s day-time ensemble. Although this was waaay before your time, I couldn’t help thinking of Carol Burnett’s famous Gone With The Wind sketch, where she has a dress made of drapes, complete with the rod. When Harvey Corman/Rhett Butler compliments her on the dress, she says, “I saw it in the window,and I just had to have it.”

  2. MorganLF says:


    LOL! Miss Ellen’s potiers!

  3. catsworking says:

    Adele, I agree with you that the black dress was just about the best full skirt Michelle has ever worn because it didn’t have a defined waist and the ruffles started just in the right place.

    That blue one she wore in England with that God-awful sweater on top was horrible. Full skirts make her look short-waisted and chubby. Sarah Jessica Parker is about the only one who can pull them off because she’s so cute and perky, but they make her legs look like toothpicks.

    A little bit of pouf goes a long way.

    Karen remembers that CB sketch you’re talking about, and she was laughing so hard she could hardly describe it to me. She promised if it’s out on YouTube somewhere, she’ll show it to me.

    Morgan, I am very impressed by your GWTW knowledge! Every kitten in the South grows up on it.

    They’re just about to show the Wood Memorial on the Horseracing Channel, and Fred’s all excited about seeing I Want Revenge. He’s hoping to have a new equine idol after the race.

  4. oricker says:

    Is this a joke or something. Are we comparing the supermodel CARLA BRUNI with Michelle Obama the pretty, pretty ugly, very ugly in fact, first lady?
    just look at her mouth (filled with foie gras?) and her hideous legs…

  5. Mauigirl says:

    I think Carla Bruni’s problem is she’s a little to understated – she fades into the background next to Michelle. Michelle has a real presence and a very upbeat, positive ambiance. Carla is too recessive, especially in gray. (Her black dress was much better). I think she should wear “spring” colors like turquoise and coral and she’d look better. But perhaps Carla was trying not to outdo Michelle Obama and wanted her to have the limelight for her first trip. Not a very French attitude, to be sure, but possible!

  6. Mauigirl says:

    Oops, “too” understated.

  7. catsworking says:

    Mauigirl, I think Carla let Michelle have her “coming out” in London with the Queen because Carla had already been there, done that, and decided to stay home on the G20.

    They say Carla dresses almost exclusively in Dior, and gray is one of her favorite colors, but I agree with you. Pale gray is not good on her. Makes her look washed out. The dark gray outfit she wore to meet the Queen looked much better.

    Michelle, thanks to her sheer size and her smile and openness, does have a way of claiming any room she’s in. Since that’s just not Carla’s style, she wisely didn’t try to compete.

    And maybe Carla is trying to look more mature and subdued so her much older husband won’t seem like he was going through a mid-life crisis when he married her on the rebound after only 3 months of dating.

  8. Adele says:

    Given Carla’s romantic resume (Mick Jagger, et.al.), I think she’s now playing the role of of the mature first lady, and this is reflected in her wardrobe choices.

    BTW, I like Carla’s singing. I know she just released an album, last year, but her eponymous album, released a few years ago, has some very nice songs, sung in a whispery voice. I’m kind of a sucker for French pop, but it’s worth checking out.

  9. MorganLF says:

    GWTW- is my weakness. I have seen it not less than 40 times to date 13 times in theaters when it was in re-release when I was a kid in the late 60’s. Read the book obsessed over Gable and Vivien Leigh read every thing ever written about her. I’ve waned on it a bit recently but I’ll give it top ten billing with the Godfather, Apocalypse Now (masterpiece) and Beetlejuice and Caddyshack.

  10. catsworking says:

    Vivien Leigh was amazing as Scarlett O’Hara. Couldn’t have been more perfect if Margaret Mitchell had written the part for her. And as a GWTW scholar, you probably know that Mitchell once said she was picturing Groucho Marx when she wrote Rhett Butler, who could never be played by anybody else but Gable.

    Karen read GWTW straight through TWICE when she was 10, and saw the movie on the big screen several times in re-release, too. And she’s made us cats sit through it more than once on DVD.

    Had to chuckle at your “top” movies, although I’ve only seen the Godfather and Caddyshack myself. No Casablanca and My Fair Lady?

  11. MorganLF says:

    No fan of Bourdain can admit to not having seen Apocalypse! Its one of his favorites based in part on one of his favorite books “Heart of Darkness” you MUST see it, especially the redux directors cut, Brando is flat out amazing.

    Casablanca no. My Fair Lady top 20. Mrs. Skeffington yes. “To Catch a Thief” top ten Cary Grant flawless.

    I think Ms. Mitchell was being flip, I actually recall reading she had Gable in mind all along. Vivien Leigh was exquisite it was her best role.

  12. catsworking says:

    Another one for the Netflix list. We’ve never seen Apocalypse and didn’t even realize Brando was in it.

    We’re watching Leslie Howard in Pygmalion right now with Wendy Hiller. Must say, they don’t hold a candle to Rex and Audrey. Thank God they don’t sing.

    Our favorite Cary Grant movie is An Affair to Remember, especially right at the end when he realizes Deborah Kerr is crippled. You’re probably detecting a pattern of gloppy romances here, right?

    And for Bette Davis and Claude Rains, it would have to be Now, Voyager.

  13. Adele says:

    Casablanca, probably my favorite movie. Favorite Cary Grant is between Notorious and To Catch a Thief. I had to drive that road between Cannes and Monaco, just to relive To Catch a Thief. Unfortunately, it’s now (at least in my mind) the Grace Kelly memorial highway. Apocalypse Now is a great film as are Godfather One and Two. Then there’s The Third Man and Citizen Kane. But for romance, I think it’s hard to beat Two for The Road. And for romance gone very wrong, Jules et Jim . . . I could go on and on — I go from edgy to sappy with much in between. And I’ve seen GWTW at least 20 times, if not more. It’s on again this Tuesday night, and I’ll probably end up watching it.

  14. catsworking says:

    Adele, we just saw Jules et Jim recently. Karen loves French movies. Nearly 40 years studying French and still far from fluent.

    Have never seen Two for the Road, but we love Audrey Hepburn. Our favorite movie of hers is Sabrina.

    For Grace Kelly, it would be High Society, the musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. There was once a traveling display of Grace Kelly’s clothes and Karen went to see them. Surprisingly, the fabrics weren’t as luxurious as they appeared, and she seemed shorter than she looked on screen, but her waist was absolutely tiny. Talk about Scarlett O’Hara’s 17-inch-waist. Kelly was probably close.

  15. Adele says:

    Adele, you and Karen must see Two for The Road. It’s by Stanley Donen, set in the south of France, and Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn are great together — then there are all the 60’s fashions.

  16. catsworking says:

    Adele, Two for the Road is on the Netflix list as of now. Apocalypse Now isn’t on DVD, apparently because Karen couldn’t add it. Can you believe that?

  17. MorganLF says:

    Two for the Road somehow depressed me but Finney was fabulous. I’m terrified of high winding roads so there is zero chance I’ll ever take that ride..Pacific Coast Highway was a nightmare I care never to relive!!

    I cannot believe Apocalypse is not on DVD…must be a glitch I am sure I saw the directors cut issued as an anniversary package..”the horror, the horror.”

  18. Adele says:

    Morgan, I know what you mean about Two For the Road, but I loved it anyhow — of course, I have at least 10 years on you and Karen, and I saw it when it first came out (I was in college and still had a huge Tom Jones inspired crush on Finney). I guess it’s a very 60’s movie, with a 60’s view of marriage as a huge compromise. I think the combination of the Hepburn/Finney chemistry and the scenery just transport me every time I see it. I don’t like high winding roads either, but every time I’ve driven them, whether in France, up to Mt. Ranier, or Pacific Coast Highway (which I found the scariest), the views and the places I’ve ended up, have made the fear worthwhile.

    I’m shocked that Apocalypse Now isn’t available at Netflix — I swore that an anniversary director’s cut was issued, as well. Just saw the Maltese Falcon, last night — another film I like more each time I see it. I do love well-acted amorality.

  19. catsworking says:

    Morgan, I think Netflix screwed up because Apocalypse Now IS on DVD. Karen looked it up and was surprised to learn it’s a war movie. She has thought all these years it was sci-fi.

    Rewatching the fan episode the other night where Bourdain goes to Saudi Arabia, one of the finalists was eliminated partly because he admitted he hadn’t seen Apocalypse (I think it was Augusto, the Filipino-American). Tony was horrified. So Karen’s going to hunt it down and see it just to stay in his good graces.

    And today she was looking for The Quiet American by Graham Greene in a used bookstore. They didn’t have it, so she picked up The End of the Affair and Travels with My Aunt in the meantime. She loved the first one as a Ralph Fiennes movie, and Katharine Hepburn almost starred in the second one (but pulled out, and Maggie Smith took her place).

  20. catsworking says:

    Adele and Morgan, I’m gathering that Hepburn and Finney split up at the end of the movie. I may watch it tonight.

    Maybe Apocalypse was just “out of stock” at Netflix or something. They had it listed in 2 versions.

    The Maltese Falcon is another of my Bogie favorites (To Have and Have Not being another one, his first with Bacall). And I love everything Peter Lorre ever made!

  21. MorganLF says:

    Cats, take the Redux Director’s Cut version, contains a lot of deleted scenes that were not in the original whole storylines in fact. It’s quite long.

    Don’t you remember the commercials in 1974 or so when it came out? The famous scene with the copters flying in formation blaring the “Cry of the Valkyries”? Or Robert Duval on the beach in Nam declaring “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”? BTW there is another of my faves he’s brilliant especially as Boo Radley in another top 5 fave, “To Kill A Mockingbird” also a book I loved.

    Peck was wonderful and I cry every time Boo steps out from the shadows to meet Scout….sniff..sniff…

    If Apocalypse does not become one of your favorites I’ll be surprised. Drop dead performances by Martin Sheen, Frederick Forrest and Dennis Hopper.

    Adele Tom Jones is a gem, so wry so funny…I love Finney too did you see The Dresser? I did not realize it was the same man! Time takes its toll. Still a great actor.

  22. Adele says:

    Morgan, I did see The Dresser, and I’ve seen Finney in some subsequent films. Time and perhaps a well-developed love of the grape and the grain does play havoc with a person’s looks, but Finney is a fine actor.

    The first time I saw Apocalypse Now, it was almost too much to take in. But seeing the director’s cut got me hooked. I always meant to read Heart of Darkness, even though I’m not a huge Conrad fan, just to see if it further enriches my love of the movie. And To Kill a Mockingbird — what is there to say — I always cry.

    Karen, did you watch Two for the Road? I’ll be curious to see what you think of it. I think Hepburn and Finney had a little tryst while making the film. Between the scenery and the charisma, I think a tryst would have been hard to resist. Hope you find The Quiet American; it’s the only Graham Greene, except The Comedians, I’ve read, but even before I knew about Bourdain, I really liked the book. Speaking of Viet Nam, if you haven’t seen Indochine, with Catherine Deneuve, rent it. Talk about atomsphere.

    I love our little film forum.

  23. catsworking says:

    Morgan, all that stuff was from Apocalypse Now? I had no idea.

    I just recently watched about half of Mockingbird, too. It was On Demand. Haven’t gone back to finish it. I’m finding there are definitely some big gaps in my classic movie knowledge.

    However, there are a few I have no use for at all. It’s a Wonderful Life is one. So is The Wizard of Oz.

  24. catsworking says:

    Adele, I try to pick up what’s classified as “literature” by dead authors used because it’s usually out there cheap. But if I really love the book, I’ll buy a pristine copy to add to the HUNDREDS collecting dust around here. In fact, I bought a mint copy of The End of the Affair because I sensed it’s a keeper, even though a beat-up cheap one was available. It’s my favorite Ralph Fiennes movie to date.

  25. Adele says:

    Karen, you’re the only other person I know of, who’s admitted a loathing for It’s a Wonderful Life. Every year, I dread being over at a friend’s house and being told that it’s on — and everyone’s excited to watch it. I find it cringe-worthy. I’ve been told I have no soul because I hate the film. I like a sappy movie as much as the next person, but I was never a fan of the films of Frank Capra — Capra-corn, I think some snarky critic called them.

  26. catsworking says:

    Adele, IAWL is my sister’s favorite movie, and there’s been more than one Christmas where she’s made us all sit and watch it while listening to her recite every word along with the characters.

    OK, I can do that with large sections of Casablanca and My Fair Lady, but only when it’s just me and the cats.

    As for the Wizard, when I was a kid it seemed every year they’d show that, and Peter Pan with Mary Martin. Peter Pan was by far my favorite, hands down. I liked the starker stage sets and Captain Hook far more than the Wicked Witch.

    Apocalypse Update: Netflix DID put it in my queue after all, but they also had the Redux version, so I switched to that one and it’s coming next. After all the hype you guys have given it, I better LOVE it because I bumped The Duchess with Ralph Fiennes for it.

  27. Adele says:

    I can’t watch Casablanca with anyone else, anymore, because I speak along with the actors — it’s a kind of Casablanca Tourette’s.

    I think Apocalypse Now is a great movie, but you just have to let yourself be absorbed by it and go a little insane, just like most of the characters. Aside from the great lines and great performances, it lets you feel the chaos and pointlessness of the Viet Nam war in a way no other film has done for me. But prepare yourself; it’s kind of a rough ride.

  28. catsworking says:

    Adele, war movies aren’t usually my thing, but if you, Bourdain, and Morgan say it’s a must-see, it’s a must-see and I’ll brace myself. It should be here tomorrow or Thursday.

    My sister told me not to see Slumdog Millionaire because of things that happen to the kids.

    I’ve never even seen Bambi because I know bad things happen to a CARTOON deer. Call me over-sensitive.

  29. Adele says:

    I can’t even stand to watch Dumbo, because I feel so sorry for him — and my mother tried to take me to see Bambi when I was very young, but I was sobbing so loudly, I had to be taken from the theater lesss than half way into the film. I did see Slumdog Millionaire and found the stuff that happened to the kids very disturbing, nightmare producing, in fact. And I found the rest of the movie pretty formulaic, except for the Bollywood number at the end, which I, surprisingly, loved.

  30. catsworking says:

    OK, Adele, you’ve convinced me. I’m never going to see Slumdog Millionaire. I’ve got enough reasons to sleep with the lights on as it is.

  31. MorganLF says:

    Pernicious unbelievers!!!!! I must see It’s a Wonderful Life every year. I love it, my brother reminds me of Jimmy Stewart, but taller. Slumdog was ok. I saw it for free would not have paid for it. I also like The Wizard of Oz! (not love).

    Here is my most overrated, un-funny, douche-chill movie of all time: Some Like it Hot….horrible, sophomoric, overwrought…Tony Curtis ugggghhh!!

  32. catsworking says:

    Morgan, over the years, I’ve seen the first part of Some Like it Hot many times, but never got through the whole thing until recently. I’d say The Seven-Year Itch was far superior.

  33. MorganLF says:

    Agreed much better. Tony Curtis’ all time hammy performance channeling Cary Grant was f’n awful!

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