French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is taking a clothing company to court to stop it from selling a shopping bag featuring a photo of the former supermodel in the nude, a lawyer said Friday.
The white canvas bags went on sale this month on the French island of Reunion, produced by local clothing firm Pardon which plans to sell them throughout France soon, said Pardon manager Peter Mertes.
A court in the Reunion capital of Saint-Denis on Monday heard the request from President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife to ban sales of the bag.
"This bag makes use of Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy's image without her consent and for commercial gain," said Iqbal Akhoun, a spokesman in Saint-Denis for the first lady's lawyer Thierry Herzog.
The 40-year-old former supermodel is also seeking 125,000 euros (US$167,000) in damages from Pardon, which she would donate to charity, he added.
The bag features a black-and-white picture of Bruni-Sarkozy taken from a famous 1993 photo of the model standing upright in the nude that fetched US$91,000 at a New York auction earlier this year.'nude Carla' bags
A talk bubble on the bag next to the first lady reads "My boyfriend should have bought me Pardon". The item sells for three euros.
Pardon boss Mertes told reporters his company had manufactured 10,000 'Carla' bags and that most of them were gifts to clients who bought other products.
Mertes said he was entitled to use the photo because Bruni-Sarkozy is a public figure.
The case comes two weeks after a Paris appeals court ordered that a Sarkozy voodoo doll be sold with a label describing it as offensive to the president, but refused to ban the novelty. nude Carla bags
That decision overturned a lower court ruling that found the doll sold with needles and an instruction manual fell "within the authorised limits of free expression and the right to humour."