First Lady Power: Obama, Bruni-Sarkozy Share in Glamor

They have a new-found friendship, their backgrounds are like night and day.

STRASBOURG, France, April 4, 2009— -- The highly anticipated meeting of the most fashionable first ladies left Michelle Obama with a new French Connection: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Many wondered if Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was ready for a little competition on the world stage. She seemed open to sharing the spotlight when she greeted Obama with a friendly kiss.

Both first ladies are known for their impeccable sense of fashion. Now that their husbands are two of the most powerful men in the world, they have a lot more than fashion in common.

"I think the public is so fascinated by the meeting of Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni because they both represent, I think, feminism, modernity and strength," said Laura Brown, features and special projects director at Harper's Bazaar.

Although these women have a new-found friendship, their backgrounds are like night and day.

Bruni-Sarkozy is a runway model turned singer turned first lady. She wed the French president just months after his second divorce.

Obama grew up on the South side of Chicago, studied at Princeton and Harvard before meeting the man who would soon become her husband and later the president.

Now the first ladies are living similar lives as they stand beside their husbands, supporting and working with them.

"Apparently it's quite a sisterhood," ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts said. "First ladies have told me it's really something to get together with the wives of other heads of state, and I guess they understand each other in a way that the rest of us don't."

The first lady's aides say she and Bruni-Sarkozy enjoyed each other's company -- they shared lunch, had lively conversation, and seemed to genuinely like each other. But first ladies don't always get along.

When the Reagans met the Gorbachevs, the relationship between Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev was a microcosm for the relations of two countries at the height of the cold war -- icy at best.

"Raisa Gorbachev took Iceland by storm. And Nancy Reagan was more used to being in the spotlight; she probably also had some concerns about Mikhail Gorbachev's sincerity and didn't want that to get swept under the rug," Roberts said.

Times have changed, and America's new first lady has been exceptionally friendly on her European tour.

She embraces the other wives, often exchanging hugs instead of handshakes. She seems to be very well received.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy embraced her with two kisses as the two parted.