Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Can’t Buy Me Love? Mais, bien sur…

It was recently reported by the New York Times that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his new girlfriend singer/supermodel Carla Bruni might be engaged. This is certainly controversial news considering their flashy and splashy romance, spanning the globe from the Pyramids of Giza to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and causing serious controversy in the Middle East not to mention Sarkozy’s approval ratings taking a vertiginous plunge. However, this is not our topic of debate- we’re just not that deep.

In the article, the Times goes on to describe the alleged engagement ring as a heart-shaped diamond designed by none other than the whimsical Dior jewelry maven Victoire de Castellanne whose cartoonish gems have made her a favorite among fashion-conscious pop culture personalities like Pharell Williams and magazines such as ELLE and Nylon (Interestingly enough this decadent detail was found in Tuesday’s cover section, not the Style section). Madame Castellanne’s cheeky chains chockfull of Hello Kitty heads and Bambi-inspired baubles are not exactly what one expects for a presidential engagement band, however, this is France, and in France, fashion comes first.

So why is it that where French men seem to know what women want, American men seem to think whatever comes in a teal cardboard box is acceptable (Quelle horreur!)? French men get away with, nay, celebrate the fact that they know couture as well as their wives, girlfriends, and mistresses. I am reminded of the scene in the film Le Divorce starring Kate Hudson where her green American character becomes an older French man’s mistress and he purchases her a crocodile Hermes Kelly bag at the beginning of their clandestine affair, only to end it with a Chanel scarf. Pas mal.

Final Word: Although the French seem to equate retail purchases with love and all things amoureux (they even call products placed near the cash register “coups de coeur,” literally translated as “blows to the heart”), does it mean their brand of love lasts longer? Most likely not, but one thing is for sure, an Hermes bag sure does stand the test of time. Monsiuer Sarkozy, take note.

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