Vanity Fair France’s List of the 50 Most Influential French People in the World 2015

It’s that time of year again. The best and the most, whether it be fashion, food, sports or politics. We picked up a copy of Vanity Fair’s “50 Most,” that features Quentin Tarantino on its cover, and had a look inside.

Out of the 50, 9 are what we might call the “usual suspects,” names that have appeared in the prior year’s listing. Not surprisingly, we found Christine Lagarde (she’s been on the list for all three years of its existence, and she’ll probably make the cut for as long as she’s at the head of the IMF), the great judoka Teddy Riner, the couturier Olivier Rousteig (being a friend of the Kardashians doesn’t hurt), the French president François Hollande (he moved up a few slots from 22 to 15), as well as Thomas Piketty, Alain Ducasse, Marc Levy and Xavier Huillard. That’s just one short of 20%, a testimony to their staying power, not unlike the French political establishment.

While not quite attaining parity, there were nevertheless 20 women in the listing. In addition to Mme Lagarde, some of the names are well known to the general public: the actresses Léa Seydoux (number 2) and Marion Cotillard (number 10), as well as Christine and the Queens (number 12) and Amélie Mauresmo (number 49). Among the others, most from the worlds of business and industry, we noted Martine de Richeville (number 40) at the head of an international chain of high-end massage salons and the up and coming model Aya Jones (number 44).

The overall list is pretty heavily skewed towards business and industry, with 19 entries. If we add economy and politics (6 entries) these categories make up half of the names. It would seem that while the French economy is in the doldrums, those at the top are doing quite well. The number one – Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan – was the subject of a long article, a combination of an interview and commentary. As in previous years, without in any way detracting from the very impressive accomplishments of the subject, we sensed a kind of “he walks on water” vibe.