Oh la la! France's new First Lady Valerie flashes a tantalising glimpse of slender thigh
07:37 GMT, 16 May 2012
It was the day that her partner became President of France.
But as the country's stunning new First Lady strode confidently through Paris's Tuileries Gardens on her towering high heels, there was no doubt about the identity of the true star attraction.
At 47, Valerie Trierweiler – exuded the effortless Parisian chic that makes French women the envy of the world.
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Thigh high: Valerie Trierweiler's dress falls open to reveal her slender legs as she walks in the Tuileries gardens after her partner's inauguration as president
Tribute: President Francois Hollande Valerie Trierweiler arrive at a ceremony to pay tribute to the 19th century education reformer Jules Ferry at the Tuileries Garden
First couple: Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler visit Paris City Hall
President and the pout: Standing alongside her boyfriend, Valerie out-glamoured outgoing First Lady Carla Bruni
And even a flash of thigh as her dark dress flicked open in the wind failed to detract from the timeless elegance of her monochrome ensemble.
Ms Trierweiler – dubbed the Rottweiler by critics – had earlier outshone one-time supermodel and outgoing First Lady Carla Bruni when the pair posed together at the Elysee Palace to see partner Francois Hollande be sworn in as President.
She went for all-glamour, her hair styled into curls over the 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.
Ms Trierweiler 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.'
'First companion': Valerie Trierweiler arrives at her boyfriend Francois Hollande's investiture
'First lady': Valerie Trierweiler, companion of France's president-elect Francois Hollande arrives at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris
With a little adjustment, Valerie quickly settled into her new role as companion to the president with panache
Security teams had to shield Valerie Trierweiler from supporters eager for a glimpse of France's new First Lady
'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, meanwhile, appeared to have faded into the background as her five year reign as First Lady came to an end.
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.
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, 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.
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 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
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
Pregnant and glowing in September last year
In stylish shift dress and figure-skimming coat, May 2011
An official engagement with the Camerons in June 2010
A neat dress with kitten heels in September 2009
April 2009 wearing pretty purple dress in Madrid
A ball at the Elysee palace, June 2009
Looking sprightly in a summery dress in 2009
Proof that trousers can be flattering – if they fit well
A pretty lilac skirt suit in 2009 – before Carla gave up heels