On Tuesday French First Lady Carla Bruni attended a state dinner wearing a tight Roland Mouret dress with no bra. Two writers debate in the London Times today whether going braless is an acceptable choice for a First Lady. Hannah Betts wonders why no one is talking about how she probably also didn’t wear panties, and argues the bralessness is okay because boobs have been a symbol of female power for ages in France.
Moreover, when Carla brandishes her bosom, she is merely the latest in an august line of Gallic consorts who have proffered their breasts to suggest physical and political prowess. Most prominent were the orb-bosomed Agnès Sorel, paramour to Charles VII; Diane de Poitiers, mistress to Henri II, who fashioned his goblet on her breast; and erect-nippled Gabrielle d’Estrées, the distraction of Henri IV. Like the third Mrs Sarko, all revealed their embonpoint as a means of signalling youthfulness and a provocatively literal grip on power.
However, Sarah Vine thinks bras are just great, and will never forget when they got her through a particularly difficult time.
While breastfeeding, the darn things were so sore that I slept in my bra, since even the tiniest movement in bed led to a throbbing pain. It also made it far easier to contain the cabbage leaves that I was assured would alleviate my mastitis (they didn’t: all that happened was that the smell of hot cabbage joined the aroma of baby vomit in a uniquely unalluring, not to say toxic, mixture).
She concludes, “When it comes to breasts, I’m a firm believer in that old saying: a place for everything — and everything in its place.” So this isn’t really about whether Carla did or didn’t or should or shouldn’t have worn a bra — it’s about two women who finally get to tell personal stories about their boobs. And an acknowledgment of that universal truth: Women love talking about boobs.
Should Carla Bruni have worn a bra? [Times UK]