Caroline de Monaco
Yet another installment in the continuing series on "whatever question pops into my head" surveys.
Today we shall examine who French women believe are the indelible standard bearers of the ultimate in allure, poise, presence and personal style -- the words the women themselves used to describe their choices. Some won't surprise, some may and some you might not know.
Many icons were cited repeatedly, among them: Chanel, Catherine Deneuve -- always with the qualifier, "before" since most find she hasn't upheld the banner -- Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Caroline de Monaco, Ines de la Fressange and more (you'll see next week).
And the nominees are. . .
Gisele: Coco Chanel -- more than 50 percent of those questioned mentioned her -- and Catherine Ney the stunning, statuesque journalist, radio and television commentator and author of bestselling books on politics and politicians.
Chantal: Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts "not because of how they dress, but because of who they are -- both natural, open, not constrained by what is supposed to be chic or 'in' -- bien dans leur peau."
Edith: Jackie Kennedy and Caroline de Monaco -- both mentioned over and over.
Elise: Lou Lou de la Falaise, the former muse of Yves Saint Laurent and designer of magnificently creative bijoux.
Aurore: Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lauren Bacall.
Pamela: Ines de la Fressange.
Evelyne: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Condoleezza Rice.
Christine: Elsa Schaparelli and her granddaughter, Marisa Berenson.