Dolce Francia: Emmanuelle Alt and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
By Justine Ariel
Of course you recognize these faces. Yes, that’s Emmanuelle Alt in 1990, next to her best-friend-since-childhood, the now and ever famous Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. And yes, 23 years ago, Alt was still wearing a white Oxford and Carla was still wearing some lover’s Oxford, unbuttoned just enough to imply that whoever took the photograph rang her doorbell a little too early.
Now, 23 years later, they are still great friends. Last month, Emmanuelle Alt and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy hosted a black-tie dinner for Bulgari at Apicius. Guests included Adrien Brody, Miranda Kerr, David Sims, and Malgosia Bela. I’m convinced that my invitation was lost in the mail; I mean, if they invited Scarlett Johansson, they could have at least invited me, but that’s another story... It was a night of champagne, glamour, and edgy sophistication. You can expect no less from an Alt/Bruni collaboration with Bulgari.
You get the feeling that these two women know they’re on top of the world hosting this event, and that the international fashion jet-set is the only world worth running. Emmanuelle, in a signature blazer with military details, and Carla, in a dress that gives a subdued nod to the tuxedo vest, are perfect complements. This event wasn’t the first time Emmanuelle and Carla collaborated in a chic way. Last year’s December edition of Vogue Paris featured Carla Bruni in an article called “Les Sept Vies de Carla Bruni,” exposing her muses and heroes, her guitars, and her studio.
There is something honest and joyful in these images. Unlike Alt’s recent work in Vogue Paris, understatement is the key in the styling here. Bruni wears a gorgeous Chanel dress and a simple Dior pullover with jeans in the next photo. No doubt Carla Bruni is a seasoned model and performer, but these images really ring true to what Emmanuelle Alt said when she started her position as editor-in-chief at Vogue Paris: "I wanted to see things with humor, to present ideas and pictures that will make people laugh or smile… It's not that everything we do is accessible — haute couture isn't accessible, diamonds aren't accessible — but I want the girl they are shown on to be real, identifiable, someone you'd like to know.”
Carla Bruni is, ironically, super real and down-to-earth. There’s a reason why, until the last election, I followed French politics as closely as I followed fashion. That’s because Carla, with her fashion lyrics (“l’amour / ça ne va pas / c’est pas du Saint Laurent / ça ne tombe pas parfaitement” which translates roughly into English as “love never fits me as well as a Saint Laurent smoking”) and her Alt-like style, brought cool and a little rock 'n' roll to 55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Cool and rock 'n' roll… sound like someone else we know?
Emmanuelle Alt and Carla Bruni have been friends since their teens, so I can’t finish this post without discussing a little bit of their rock 'n' roll past. We all know that Emmanuelle Alt is David Bowie’s number one fan, and that Carla Bruni was, for a time, very publicly in love with Mick Jagger. But music plays such a strong role in the work of both Carla and Emmanuelle. Carla released a new album called Little French Songs in April 2013, which includes a song about Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg in the 1970s. And it seems like every new issue of Vogue Paris includes some kind of nod to the 80s music that Emmanuelle loves so dearly. It’s no wonder that these two amazing style icons have remained friends through the years — and what a treat to see them together!
Emmanuelle Alt and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy photos courtesy of parismatch.com and Fashion Spot.