A French fashion line is ordered to pay the first lady $57,500 in damages

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 18, 2008 02:10 PM
Credit: Philippe Wojazer/AP

France’s first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been awarded $57,500 in damages after she sued a fashion company for adorning a canvas shopping bag with a 1993 nude photo of her.

“The unauthorized use of the image of Carla Bruni caused her moral and economic damage,” ruled a court on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, reports Reuters.

Lawyers for Bruni-Sarkozy have suggested her monetary award would be given to charity.

Peter Mertes, founder and manager of Pardon – the fashion line that manufactured and marketed the $4 carrier bags – vowed to appeal Thursday’s court decision, because the sum awarded seemed too large for what he considers “a small blunder.”

In court, Mertes had said that 10,000 bags have been removed from retail stores and that “we plan to burn them all.”

The photo, showing the former supermodel standing up without a stitch, was taken by fashion lensman Michel Comte in 1993 for an anti-AIDS campaign.