Carla Bruni-Sarkozy loses out in beauty stakes to France"s all-natural new First Lady

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy loses out in beauty stakes as France's all-natural new First Lady trumps former model's enhanced looks

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 15 May 2012

She has enjoyed a five year reign as France's First Lady. But today, as Nicholas Sarkozy handed over the Presidential reigns to Francois Hollande, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's role was relinquished too.

And as she appeared with her husband at the Elysee Palace today for the formal ceremony to swear in new president Hollande, erstwhile First Lady Carla Bruni looked to have admitted defeat in more ways than one.

Once the darling of the fashion world, with her smart wardrobe of figure-skimming shifts, immaculate trouser suits or neat capri pants, today it seemed as if 44-year-old Carla had relinquished her style nous along with her Premiere Dame status.

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Style fail: Carla Bruni wore an unflattering trouser suit for the Presidential handover today

Style fail: Carla Bruni wore an unflattering trouser suit for the Presidential handover today

Style fail: Carla Bruni wore an unflattering trouser suit for the Presidential handover today

Ladies in black and white: Carla Bruni with new French Premiere Dame Valerie Trierweiler

Ladies in black and white: Carla Bruni with new French Premiere Dame Valerie Trierweiler, who has already got the tongues of France's fashion elite wagging

Wearing an ill-fitting suit
that would not have looked out of place on a bank clerk, Carla looked as
far from a global fashion icon as they come.

The
too-long trousers pooled in crumpled fabric around her ankles, almost
obscuring the dowdy flat pumps on her feet, and the fabric creased at
the hips. As for the jacket, it was too small; the sleeves too short.

The
result was deeply unflattering.
It has been suggested in fashion circles that the eternally slender
Carla has struggled to come to terms with her post-birth figure and is attempting to
cover up in shapeless suits she hopes will detract from her
figure.

But the reality
is that one of the well-tailored shift dresses
she wore pre-pregnancy would have looked much neater – and would
flatter her still-enviable figure infinitely better.

As
for her hair, gone is the bouncy blow-dry she has favoured for years,
and in its place a heavy fringe and uninspiring poker straight locks.

Valerie
Trierweilier, on the other hand, who at 47 is three years Carla's
senior, went for all-out glamour, her hair styled into curls, and
dressed in a
chiffon-sleeved black dress, nude tights and a white coat, which she
removed on arrival at the Elysee.

Indeed, despite being the older of the two, Valerie's natural beauty meant she outshone the incumbent First Lady.

Carla greets her successor warmly outside the Elysee today

Carla greets her successor warmly outside the Elysee today

Warm welcome: Carla greeted her successor outside the Elysee today, and the two looked at ease as they posed for photographs together

Carla and Valerie supported their husbands at the Elysee today

Carla and Valerie supported their husbands at the Elysee today

The incoming First Lady of France has already got France's fashion elite talking, with Chanel head Karl Lagerfeld last week calling her 'handsome'.

'I like [Hollande's] girlfriend,' Lagerfeld told WWD.'I think she's very handsome, very elegant.'

Designers Christian Lacroix weighed
in too, saying he was 'delighted' with the new leadership, France's first Socialists in 17 years, while French
couturier Bouchra Jarrar let it be known that he wholeheartedly approved
of France's new First Lady, calling her 'inspiring.'

'As for her style, she makes me think
of a heroine in a Claude Chabrol movie,' Jarrar told WWD. 'She has an
air of Marie-France Pisier, which pleases me a lot and could inspire
me.'

For her part, the much-praised Paris
Match journalist described her style in an interview with The Times this
week as 'quality ready-to-wear'.

'For the moment I dress in
prt–porter,' she said. 'Lately it has been Georges Rech and
Apostrophe, which are quality prt–porter brands that I have been
wearing on television.

'I have never worn dresses by grands couturiers.'

With Lagerfeld and Lacroix circling, that could be set to change.

Carla waves as she leaves the Elysee Palace in a car with her husband

Carla waves as she leaves the Elysee Palace in a car with her husband

Out with the old: President Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler watch as President Nicolas Sarkozy and former First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy leave the Elysee Palace

Out with the old: President Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler watch as President Nicolas Sarkozy and former First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy leave the Elysee Palace

FIRST LADY OF FASHION: CARLA'S FINEST STYLE MOMENTS AS PREMIERE DAME

First Lady of fashion: Carla in the Roland Mouret Lombard dress, the same style worn by the Duchess of Cambridge last week

First Lady of fashion: Carla in the Roland Mouret Lombard dress, the same style worn by the Duchess of Cambridge last week

Pregnant and glowing in September last year

Pregnant and glowing in September last year

In stylish shift dress, May 2011

In stylish shift dress and figure-skimming coat, May 2011

An official engagement with the Camerons in June 2010

An official engagement with the Camerons in June 2010

A neat dress with kitten heels in September 2009

A neat dress with kitten heels in September 2009

April 2009 on an official engagement to Madrid

April 2009 wearing pretty purple dress in Madrid

A ball at the Elysee palace, June 2009

A ball at the Elysee palace, June 2009

Looking sprightly in a summery dress in 2009

Looking sprightly in a summery dress in 2009

Proof that trousers can be flattering - if they fit well

Proof that trousers can be flattering – if they fit well

A pretty lilac skirt suit in 2009

A pretty lilac skirt suit in 2009 – before Carla gave up heels

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