It would not be Paris without the distant rumble of discontent. So when the cherished haute couture shows of France - those twice yearly celebrations of ultra-bling - got under way yesterday with the usual ode to extravagance at Dior, the French media continued to grumble ominously about their President Bling-Bling.
There may be an irony in this. Or there may not. The French mentality does not appear to have any difficulty drawing a distinction between vulgar-for-the-sake-of-it vulgarity (Sarkozy and his supermodel girlfriend/fiancée/wife) and work-of-art vulgarity produced by honest artisans. Perhaps that is why Marie-Antoinette, the original Madame Bling, got the chop and Rose Bertin, the architect of some of her most flamboyant frocks, lived to dress Josephine Bonaparte.