Gone are the prim (but stylish) Dior suits and sheath dresses worn by the first lady of France. Carla Bruni is back in popstar mode, in a uniform of skinny jeans and cute little boots, toting a guitar.
The singer, who's been promoting her new album, Little French Songs, in New York this week and excitedly announcing her first US tour, says she's happy about her return to her former life – though she insists, "I never really left it, you know?"
But Bruni, who left the Elysee Palace in Paris with the electoral defeat of her husband President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012, is still political enough not to rule anything out. Namely, another Sarkozy presidential run – an eventuality being discussed in France by opponents of current President Francois Hollande.
"Well," she says carefully about that possibility. "It's not current. You know? I don't think we can really talk about it today... We go on with our life.
"Politics are a special world with special rules," she adds. "And so ... they talk about it, but it's just to fill up the press a little bit, you know?"
Bruni prefers to talk about her album and her just-announced US tour early next year.
"It's fantastic! I never did a tour in the United States, I never even toured in Europe," she says. "I hope people will come. For a French artist or Italian artist it's really rare and it's lucky."
Bruni is aware that few people can look at her solely as a musician, but rather as a woman with a fascinating trajectory: an Italian-born supermodel turned songstress, famous for dalliances with Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.