France vs Spain in style showdown

A state visit to Madrid by President Sarkozy became a catwalk contest as his wife and Princess Letizia strove to steal the show

Princess Letizia of Spain

Married to one of Europe's most attractive men, 36-year-old Spanish Princess Letizia already has the prize, but upstaging her "neighbour" was clearly too tempting to resist.


Pure Royal Barbie. Those casually tossed-back tendrils have been artfully teased, but it's possible to see where the discreet highlights need touching up.


Letizia would look good in a sack, but there's no mistaking a ruinously expensive designer number. The "bracelet" sleeves are elegant, the nipped-in waist delivers killer curves and it's the perfect length for skimming over older-than-teenage knees.


Most mothers of two would struggle to recover a hand-span waist like Letizia's. Perhaps there's a state-of-the-art gym in the palace? Rumours swirl of plastic surgery, but there's not a surgeon in the world who can deliver slender calves and ankles like hers, so we assume any knifework is limited to her line-less face.


A mis-step. From the back, there's a whiff of the street-walker about these platform pink heels, but when you learn that the Prince is 6ft 5in, all becomes clear. It's true that royals often let themselves down with disproportionately clunky shoes, so Letizia's high-fashion footwear is a fitting statement for someone who has to walk no further than 10 yards along a receiving line.


Letizia has the physical advantage so can afford to tone down the glamour.

Carla Bruni, France's First Lady

Ms Bruni has enjoyed being "the sexy chanteuse who snared Sarko", but now she has to perform on a stage bigger than any from her musical career – the world's political stage. It's clearly harder than she thought.


By taming her boho tendrils, Carla has performed a Samson-like mistake: she's lost all her strength.


Navy blue. Form fitting. Christian Dior. Three terms that should guarantee lust and envy from onlookers in equal measures. But next to Letizia, this misfires. The shoulders are fussy, the waistband untidy and, without a slit, the pencil skirt makes negotiating steps awkward. And the back view is kinder than the front. Not Dior designer John Galliano's finest hour.


Here Carla can claim the high ground. As befits a fortysomething mother, she is trim but not scarily thin, and while she may not have the décolletage of her rival, fashion purists insist clothes hang better on less busty women. The way she holds her arms is surely a hangover from Carla's days as a supermodel.


Kitten heels are never acceptable these days in fashionable circles. OK, so her husband's a shortarse, but Carla should rise above such a faux pas. If Nicolas is that sensitive, bring back the ballet flats. However, these shoes are made by Christian Louboutin, the last word in footwear couture.


Carla should stay true to her fashion credentials.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas