Haute Politics

France’s Chic New Women Cabinet Members

Beyond having major impact on policy, Francois Hollande’s 17 female ministers are infusing the government with a new style. By Isabel Wilkinson.

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During the Sarkozy administration, one figure reigned supreme over France’s fashion landscape: First Lady Carla Bruni, in a sea of neatly-tailored Dior suits, kitten heels, and—in a direct nod to Jackie O—pillbox hats.

But since François Hollande took office in May, things look different—beyond the controversial wealth tax. Seventeen members of Hollande’s new cabinet are women, seven are under 40, and seven are minorities. The appointments were largely applauded—and since then, the new female cabinet members have been brought into a sharp focus.

As Laure Guilbault writes in WWD, these women already have ushered in a striking new style and strong attitude. “Elegant, fit, and feminine, they are adding some glamour to the French political landscape—sometimes too much so,” she writes.

Standing out from the pack is Aurelie Filipetti, the new minister of culture, a slight woman who prefers minimal silhouettes and bright accessories. Minister Yamina Benguigui is partial to startling, five-inch heels, tight suits, and beaded evening gowns, while Fleur Pellerin, the “geek” minister in charge of digital economy, already has been featured by French Elle.

Then there is the housing minister, Cecile Duflot, who wore a conservative floral dress onto the floor of the parliament to address her colleagues—and was promptly cat-called.

“I have worked in the building trade and I have never seen anything like that,” she later said. “This tells you something about some MPs. I think of their wives.”

See our gallery of France’s strong new female cabinet members.