Witty tailor profits from Fillon suit scandal

Bruno Delport/Twitter

Humorous poster in the window alluding to candidate's garments brings customers through the door

A Paris tailor has used the recent scandal involving François Fillon and his expensive suits to his advantage – just by sticking a humorous poster in his shop window.

“You have a friend? We have suits!” says the poster at Pois et Mesures, located in Avenue Niel, in the 17th arrondissement. It was spotted by Twitter user Bruno Delport.

Fillon, 63, is the right-wing presidential candidate who received €13,000 worth of bespoke clothing from his friend and lawyer Robert Bourgi in February – a gift he claims to have returned following the controversy. Mr Bourgi told BFMTV that the suits were a gift and he expected nothing in return.

It follows earlier allegations by the Journal du Dimanche that since 2012 Mr Fillon has received €35,500 worth of suits from luxury tailor Arnys, paid for in cash by an anonymous benefactor.

Pois et Mesures’ allusion to the suit scandal is obvious to passers-by. "No need to have gone to the ENA [France’s top business school] to understand what I'm talking about!" the manager, Thierry Cornet, told France Infos.

Even Fillon’s admission of culpability did not prevent Mr Cornet from using the suit affair to his advantage. "I had been thinking about it for a while, but I could not find the right line. I wanted to be funny, cutting, but with respect," he said. When he had the brainwave, he ordered it from his poster supplier, who "could not help but laugh".

"It makes 99% of the regulars and locals smile," he said. "They understand that I do not do politics. It's just humour, I’m not campaigning for anyone.”

It has also been good for business. "There are regular people who stop to take a picture of the storefront and then end up entering the shop, otherwise they would never have come to see us."

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"The advantage with this presidential campaign is that I could change my shop window every day," he added, alluding to the build-up to the first round of voting on Sunday April 23. He decided to leave the poster "another week".

Meanwhile, Fillon’s Welsh-born wife Penelope has been placed under formal investigation and questioned by magistrates over allegations she was paid hundreds of thousands of euros – arranged by her husband – for parliamentary assistant work she that did not do.

Mr Fillon, under suspicion of misusing public funds, also faces claims that he paid his two sons for work as lawyers, even though they were not qualified as lawyers at the time. Husband and wife both deny any wrongdoing.

Should Mr Fillon win the election he would, as president, be immune from prosecution. His wife would not.

However, Mr Fillon has now slipped from first to third in the polls behind centrist Emmanuel Macron and Front National’s Marine Le Pen, with La France insoumise’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Parti Socialist’s Benoît Hamon behind him.

Unless there is an outright winner with more than half of the votes in the first round, only the top two will go through to the second round of voting on Sunday May 7. Read our guide to the election here.

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