How Carla Bruni Went From Model Chanteuse to French First Lady—And Back Again

Christian Dior : Photocall - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017

It was an unlikely tale: girl scores a Guess campaign, quickly becomes one of the highest paid high fashion models in the world, starts a wildly successful music career, and, in the end, surprisingly becomes the First Lady of France. And for Carla Bruni, it was reality. The Italian-born beauty quickly rose to prominence as one of the world’s most in-demands models in the ’90s, modeling for the likes of Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, and Prada, before switching gears and releasing her debut album, Quelqu’un m’a dit, in 2002. Five years later, she met Nicholas Sarkozy, then president of France, and within months had herself officially become political royalty. Throughout it all, however, one thing has remained constant: Bruni’s effortlessly chic style. A fan of perfectly tailored separates, the sleek evening gown, and expertly coiffed hair, the multi-hyphenate always looks to be the picture of put together—with just enough edge. Here, a look back at her best style moments.


Carla Bruni attends the 11th annual Aids Gala Benefit, hosted by Pierre Berge, at the Pavillon d’Armenonville on February 2, 2005 in Paris, France.


Carla Bruni attends the 2005 Scopus Awards gala at the Petit Palais, avenue Winston Churchill, November 21, 2005 in Paris, France.


Bruni wears a sleek blue slip dress to a fashion event.


Bruni dons an all-brown look, complete with a fur-trimmed overcoat and knee-high boots.


Carla Bruni shows off her legs in a flirty minidress with strappy heels.


Bruni during a state visit to France, at the Palais de l’Elysees on March 10, 2008 in Paris, France.


Carla Bruni arrives at the Cinema Against Aids 2007 in aid of amfAR at Le Moulin de Mougins in Mougings on May 23, 2007 in Cannes, France.


Bruni-Sarkozy exits the The Metropolitan Museum of Art following the The White House Symposium on Advancing Global Literacy Meeting on September 22, 2008 in New York City.


Bruni Sarkozy attends the Fashion Dinner for Aids at the Pavillon d’Armenonville on January 29, 2009 in Paris, France.


Bruni-Sarkozy, wears an outfit designed by Dior to a state banquet at Windsor Castle on the first day of her State Visit on March 26, 2008 in Windsor, England.


Queen Sofia of Spain and Carla Bruni attend a Gala Dinner honouring French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Royal Palace on April 27, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.


Bruni-Sarkozy arrives at a garden party to celebrate Bastille Day at Elysee Palace on July 14, 2009 in Paris, France.


Bruni-Sarkozy arrives for the Mandela Day: A 46664 Celebration Concert at Radio City Music Hall on July 18, 2009 in New York City.


Bruni Sarkozi arrives at the Bulgari The Diva Event In Paris at Hotel Potocki on July 2, 2013 in Paris, France.


Bruni attends ‘Bvlgari Celebrates 130 Years In Rome’ at Via Condotti on March 20, 2014 in Rome, Italy.


Bruni-Sarkozy attends the Schiaparelli show as part of Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2014 on January 20, 2014 in Paris, France.


Bruni-Sarkozy attends amfAR’s 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala.


Bruni attends the Bulgari and Vogue Party at Apicius Restaurant as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2014 on September 28, 2013 in Paris, France.


Bruni arrives at the Bulgari flagship store reopening on New Bond Street on April 14, 2016 in London, England.


Bruni attends the Gala event during the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience 2015 at Armani Hotel Dubai on October 30, 2015.


Bruni attends Chopard presenting The Garden of Kalahari at Theatre du Chatelet on January 21, 2017 in Paris, France.


Bruni-Sarkozy attends the Christian Dior show of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on September 30, 2016 in Paris, France.


Bruni performs during U.S. showcase on June 13, 2017.