The one fashion plate who still sports a tan is

Why topless sunbathing went out of fashion

There are very few causes that can bring together France’s most radical feminists andour law and order Home Secretary, Grald Darmanin.

But the right to bare your breasts on a public beach, at any age, without being told to cover up, is definitely one as demonstrated this week by the general outcry across the country.

Several women, sunbathing wearing only their bikini bottoms at Sainte Marie la Mer, a beach near aaa replica designer handbags Perpignan, were ordered to put their tops on by two gendarmes after a complaint lodged by “a family” whose children were, they claimed, “offended”.

It brings to mind Brigitte Bardot’s 1956 film, And God Created Woman, credited with starting the practice of sunbathing topless. Not to mention the wildly popular Sixties film series Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez, in which France’s greatest comic actor, Louis de Funs, plays an inefficient gendarme trying, and failing, to halt Bardot inspired semi nudity.

What followed from such a strong cultural tradition was probably to be expected. In the wake of this week’s cover up, France rose as a single woman to protest against this encroachment against what we regard as an “essential freedom”.

In previous summers, we French have fought over the full coverage burkini, which is banned replica louis vuitton by a replica louis vuitton bags number of resorts and most municipal swimming pools. Now we have Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags reconciled over its polar opposite. The Gendarmerie Nationale apologised for the “overreach” of two mere “reservists”. While home secretary Grald Darmanin tweeted that “Liberty is a precious asset”. the latter word being the operative.

What’s fascinating is that, despite our rallying cry to preserve the right, topless sunbathing has dramatically decreased in France. A recent study by polling group IFOP revealed that from the 43 per cent of women who chose to ditch their bikini fake designer bags tops in 1984, we are now down to 19 per cent who still brave the sun for a perfectly tanned dcollet.

Many of the respondents said that they were afraid of leering or worse: an effect of MeToo, but also of a climate where women are insulted because they wear short skirts as happened to one young woman in Paris last year, when a bus driver told her “you should dress properly” and refused to let her board.

While we still do not understand the foreign obsession with “wardrobe malfunctions”(the American hullabaloo at Janet Jackson’s collapsing neckline at the Superbowl in 2004 bemused us), we are perhaps more aware of the coarsening of street harassment, with legislation to issue fines for cat calling on the street and public transport introduced in 2018, and 700 men penalised in the first year.

I’ve never gone topless in my life, for two reasons. The chief one was replica louis vuitton bags from china that I decided early on that I didn’t like roasting myself in the sun. I have the kind of pale skin that burns to lobster red before I manage to achieve cheap louis vuitton bags from china , with great effort, exactly the same “tan” that’s indistinguishable from everyone else’s winter colouring. The other is that I have, not to put a fine point on it, large boobs, given to unattractive wobbling exactly the Donald McGill seaside postcard type kind that got one ogled even in the liberal Nineties.

Our German neighbours now win in the topless stakes: 34 per cent of women there say they sunbathe topless or in the nude (and in a country whose beaches are on the North Sea). In Spain, many women, remembering the Franco years, make a political statement of going topless. We French women Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica find that topless works best for those of us unfairly blessed with model thin looks and flat chests the kind that allows you to wear any fashion, or indeed no fashion at all. In France, where chic is as competitive as it is performative, it’s mostly been about scoring extra points.

It comes as no surprise that the three women on the Sainte Marie La Mer beach were in their 60s. They lived through the sexual revolution, when sex was good, female desire mattered, men were not the enemy, and the occasional cat call replica designer handbags was not confused Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags with assault. (Honestly, when construction workers whistle at me in the street , I take it as a welcome pick me up, and walk with a jauntier step.) Today’s hectoring is very different.

And so is fashion. Coco Chanel, who ushered in the new cult of sun worship a century ago, is now considered as the Mother of All Skin Cancers. Deeps tans are pass. We know the sun damages our complexion, is the first cause of melanoma, and that once you’ve used up your “tan capital” from the very first fake designer bags moment when, as a small child, you are let out without suncream your epidermis becomes defenceless.

The leggy, tanned models of the Nineties catwalks have been replaced by equally leggy cheap replica handbags , pale waifs now favoured 1:1 replica handbags by edgy designers and couture houses alike. The one fashion plate who still sports a tan is, significantly, the Louis Vuitton armoured Brigitte Macron, 67 a singularly unafraid woman.

Britain was never at the fighting front of topless bathing. Britannia rules the waves with both her breasts modestly covered perhaps understandably, given the British summer climate whereas Delacroix’s Libert storms a Paris barricade in 1830 with her chest proudly exposed.

Still, les Petites Anglaises, much beloved of the French, from Jane Birkin to Charlotte Rampling, went with the flow from the Sixties onwards. One of my English colleagues recalls asking their teacher if they could sunbathe topless on their school French exchange in the Eighties. This is now a thing of the past. To us French, your new prudishness looks like reverting to Victorian type. But we would say that, wouldn’t we.

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