The French Are Mocking Their President’s Glasses

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French President Francois Hollande poses on July 17, 2014 at the French ambassador's residency in Abidjian at the start of his vist to Ivory Coast. Hollande is in Ivory Coast to boost economic ties with a nation emerging from a long conflict that divided it and set back production. France is the main trading partner of its former colony, the world's leading cocoa producer and long the economic hub of the west African region. The country still hosts hundreds of French companies.AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD        (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images

American politicians continually fall under scrutiny about wearing the politically "right" thing — think of President Obama's made-in-the-USA Hart Schaffner Marx suits, the outcry over the First Lady daring to wear European designers, or the de Blasio ladies sporting inauguration looks by Garment Center booster Nanette Lepore. In a similar, though much sillier fashion, French President François Hollande is currently at the center of a optical imbroglio. The New York Times reports that the embattled president recently switched out his rimless glasses for "geekier" horn rims. (To us, they just look like hipster glasses.) Comment dit-on "super-lame?" Not only has Hollande gotten flak about the style, but the glasses are made by a Danish company, Lindberg, which is also responsible for Miuccia Prada's signature specs.

Considering that Hollande has been promoting the Made in France ethos, wearing glasses made in Denmark is not a good look. One French brand wrote him an open letter dramatically stating, "Your choice of glasses could suggest that no French company can satisfy your needs.” Others have sent him samples to try. It's lunettes lunacy over at the Élysée Palace.

Hollande, who ran under the slogan "Mr. Normal," in contrast to Nicolas Sarkozy's excesses, has not publicly attempted to justify his $1,300 Lindbergs. But that doesn't mean the French aren't still trying to tease out every possible meaning of this momentous change. A columnist for Le Nouvel Observateur linked the look to a retro impulse, describing the glasses as "an object that embodies a clear relationship to a past perceived as positive, the nostalgia for an era of fun both prohibited and conquered.” Slow your roll, Roland Barthes.