IMAGE IS CRUCIAL FOR FRENCH CANDIDATES
Paris Should you judge a book by its cover? France’s presidential candidates certainly think voters do, and more than ever have tried to get their political message across through their image.
With unemployment and economic woes topping voter concerns, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has sought to change from a Rolex-wearing president with a supermodel wife to a more humble, discreetly dressed man listening to the needs of the people.
Almost conversely, Francois Hollande — the Socialist who tops polls ahead of Sunday’s first-round voting and admits to a penchant for hamburgers — saw his popularity surge after he went on a strict diet, modernised his glasses, and went from baggy, shapeless suits to darker, sharper cuts.
Image is important in politics almost everywhere. But striking the right visual tone is especially crucial in France, capital of the luxury and cosmetics industries, home to the world’s premier fashion shows, and setter of global style trends for centuries.