French President Nicolas Sarkozy has got it in the neck for a gift handed out to deputies to mark his country’s six month presidency of the EU, which begins on July 1.
Inside each Philippe Starck-designed case is some tasteful stationery, a towel rail, and a grey silk tie.
“The funniest thing is I think Mr Sarkozy has forgotten that 18 percent of deputies in the National Assembly are women,” said deputy Aurelie Filippetti.
But, while the masculine gift may have mystified some of the Assembly’s 107 female deputies, others tried to make the most of it with typically Gallic flair by wearing the garment in different ways.
The government says the cases were meant to have unisex appeal, and while a tie was included for men, a make-up case was put in for women.