How Brigitte Macron always puts her most fashionable foot forward

How Brigitte Macron always puts her most fashionable foot forward

Brigitte Macron had big shoes to fill when she first stepped into the Élysée Palace in 2017 – well, size seven ballet flats, to be exact. Few would want to follow in the footsteps of Carla Bruni, the supermodel wife of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

But while Macron may not have initially been as accustomed to the cameras as her predecessor, she has won the hearts of the French fashion world with her sleek outfits, her eye for colour, and her industry-approved tendency to upstage her husband’s speeches with immaculate five-figure suits.

Ahead of her 71st birthday on April 13, we take a closer look at her personal style – and close connection with luxury brands, especially Louis Vuitton.

Brigitte Macron’s love of Louis Vuitton

French first lady Brigitte Macron wearing Louis Vuitton with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in Lisse, the Netherlands, in April 2023. Photo: Getty Images, WireImage

Most first ladies of France have a “special relationship” with one of the major fashion houses. Bruni-Sarkozy often donned Dior and Hermès, while Bernadette Chirac had a strong bond with Chanel. However, Macron’s loyalty to Louis Vuitton has eclipsed them all: she has worn the brand almost religiously since being introduced to creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in 2015.

And it’s not just about the clothes. She and Ghesquière have a famously close relationship, as evidenced by the March 22 issue of Madame Figaro – the weekly magazine of France’s widely read Figaro newspaper – which featured the two of them on the cover, resplendent in matching denim to celebrate his decade-long tenure at Louis Vuitton.

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The duo were photographed on the rooftop of the luxury brand’s Pont Neuf headquarters. In the accompanying article, Macron speaks about how delighted she was when anyone described her style as “so French”. With regards to Ghesquière, she says, “I started wearing his designs before knowing him,” recalling attending his 2015 show in a navy coat with a silver collar that won her acclaim in the fashion press around the world.

Since then, she has made a habit of sitting on the front row with LVMH boss Bernard Arnault (an important supporter of her husband) at Paris Fashion Week. Two years ago, on the night her husband won the re-election, she wore a custom-made cropped Louis Vuitton navy jacket with silver military detailing – a nod to the outfit she donned for his inauguration in 2017 (a skirt suit with another military-inspired jacket) as well as the LV-branded clothes she has chosen for nearly every year’s Bastille Day celebrations.

Designer habits run deep

Brigitte Macron at the Élysée Palace in Paris, in February. Photo: Corbis via Getty Images
Besides Louis Vuitton, Macron has been pictured in brands including Balmain – whose silhouettes work very well with her own aesthetic, all sleek shapes and sharp shoulders – and Alexandre Vauthier. But no matter which designer she is wearing, she always favours similar looks: colourful suits – both skirt and trouser – that show off her slim legs, beautifully tailored gowns that are cut close to the body, and ultra-luxe coats and jackets.

This exact aesthetic was on display recently when Macron was pictured in a double breasted black blazer and slim fit trousers on the set of the show that Parisian fashionistas love to hate (but still voraciously watch), Emily in Paris, after it was confirmed that she would make an appearance in the upcoming series. The show provides an over-the-top glimpse into the world of French luxury and has become one of Netflix’s top hits.

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One look you are unlikely to see the bold Madame Macron in, however, is anything affordable. While political figures in the UK and US are often pressured into wearing accessible designs from high-street stores, Marcon has an almost entirely designer wardrobe, and as a result, she is logo-encrusted no matter whether she is attending a state dinner or doing a meet-and-greet in the local park.
(From left) Brigitte Macron, Helene Arnault, Bernard Arnault, Lea Seydoux and Delphine Arnault attend the Louis Vuitton show in Paris, in 2016. Photo: Getty Images

“Brigitte always looks great in photographs and the high-end fashion industry is hugely important in France and, yes, as a nation we need a first lady who will champion that – but at times her love of designer labels has struck the wrong note,” says Paris-based fashion commentator Tina Guichard. “We are in a cost-of-living crisis and yet she only ever wears hugely expensive outfits – sometimes it would be good to see her in a cashmere top from Monoprix.”

An eye-watering hair and make-up budget

Brigitte Macron in a Louis Vuitton skirt suit paired with the label’s Capucine bag, at Emmanuel Macron’s inauguration at the Élysée Palace in Paris, in 2017. Photo: Getty Images

This love of luxury stretches to the first lady’s beauty regimen: in 2018, the French Court of Audit revealed that the Macrons spend €62,000 (US$67,000) annually on hair and make-up, and Brigitte’s walnut tan and blonde blow-dried bob have become as central to her aesthetic as her heels and colourful jackets.

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Thanks to her soigné appearance, Macron, who turns 71 on April 13, has become something of a poster-woman for later-in-life style. While French culture has long decreed that older women can be as alluring as their younger contemporaries, Macron is unusual even in Paris for her love of skinny jeans and short skirt suits that show off her slim, toned legs. Over her years in the Élysée Palace, she has worn clothes that are the very opposite of frumpy: leather trousers, white jeans and thigh-skimming dresses. And as for her shoes, at 168cm tall (5 feet 6 inches), Macron is relatively petite compared with those she shares a public stage with, and she is rarely seen without her four-inch court shoes.

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