The politics of fashion, or rather… the fashion of politics: how will France’s election be influenced by appearances? Plus, an interview with Charlotte Rampling, Livia Firth on the Eco-Age, and why Burberry is beating out Aquascutum as the heritage trenchcoat brand of choice.

After the break are five reads worthy of your weekend.

fashion lifestyle weekend reading

Will France vote bling or bland?

Looking at the fashionable side of politics, and how appearances influence voting – from the candidates themselves to their wives.

“Meanwhile, advisers in the Sarkozy camp have reportedly been encouraging the first lady, aka Carla Bruni-Sarkozy… to engage in a “make-under”. So Bruni-Sarkozy has traded her Dior and Hermès dresses for trouser suits, grey leggings and baggy sweaters, and is otherwise downplaying her sex-bomb appeal and up-playing motherhood and a love of French soap operas in order to seem more like a regular Jane.”

Read it here.

The Talks: Charlotte Rampling

In yet another great interview at The Talks, Charlotte Rampling discusses the need to be brave, the blurring of work and life, and why plastic surgery is the easy way out.

“I’d rather not tamper with nature… Who wants to grow old? Who wants to get lines? Who wants to not be young? But we can’t be. We’re going on.”

Read it here.

Livia Firth on ethical consumerism and the new Eco-Age

Sustainable fashion may be a nebulous concept, but it’s one Livia Firth (yes, wife of Colin), takes very seriously.

“They’re not cheap, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. “Once you’ve seen how a factory producing throwaway fashion operates, you can never really go back to the high street,” says Firth, who claims to still wear clothes she bought 20 years ago. Isn’t that called hoarding?”

Read it here.

Trench warfare: Burberry vs Aquascutum

Burberry is on the up while Aquascutum enters administration. Why?

“When Bailey took on the mantle in 2001, he understood that the way to treat a “heritage label” is to reinvent that heritage for a new generation… in doing so, Burberry’s public face became at once cool and cult, losing none of the prestige that comes of being something of an institution.”

Read it here.

Can you make yourself smarter?

Experiments that suggest fluid intelligence be strengthened like a muscle.

” Crystallized intelligence grows as you age; fluid intelligence has long been known to peak in early adulthood, around college age, and then to decline gradually. And unlike physical conditioning, which can transform 98-pound weaklings into hunks, fluid intelligence has always been considered impervious to training.”

Read it here.

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Some people's wardrobes are about a small selection of pieces that all fit within one aesthetic - Tania Braukamper isn't such a person. With a wardrobe that spans three different rooms, her approach to fashion is a mixture of current-season key pieces mixed with vintage finds she's sourced on innumerous shopping trips around the world's more cultured capitals. Despite a disparate approach to shopping, Tania is adamant that the key to mixing vintage with new season is to stick to key looks and colours that work for oneself. And it's a theory that she works into her writing for Fashionising.com, where she serves as the publication's Editor.