Fashion Scoops: A Tale of Two Cities... Wedding March-Esa... Gehry's London Debut...

As French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, prepare to land in London today on a state visit, Sarko fever is gripping the...

Frank Gehrys take for the Serpentine Gallery

Frank Gehry's take for the Serpentine Gallery.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

A TALE OF TWO CITIES: As French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, prepare to land in London today on a state visit, Sarko fever is gripping the British capital. This being Britain, papers are chattering about her racy past — "She boasts at least one British knight, Sir Mick Jagger, among her past conquests," crowed The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday. Others, meanwhile, are pondering how many kudos a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II will earn the controversial president. "Despite having dispatched its own royal family by means of the guillotine, France has retained an abiding fascination with ours," said The Times on Saturday. And everyone seems enchanted by the fact that Sarkozy, in true French fashion, is bringing une autre femme on the trip — his 81-year-old mother, Andrée Sarkozy.

They've sure got their work cut out for them over the next 48 hours, and Bruni-Sarkozy is said to be packing a wardrobe filled with Dior and other French designers to show off her taste. In addition to the official visits, there is a stack of social ones, too. Today, shortly after arriving at Heathrow, the Sarkozys are expected to break bread with the Queen during a private lunch at Windsor Castle, and later view a selection of Anglo-French memorabilia from the Royal Collection. That evening, the Queen will give a white-tie state banquet at the castle.

On Thursday, the real socializing begins, with a ladies' charity lunch hosted by Sarah Brown, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife, in honor of Bruni-Sarkozy at Lancaster House, near St. James's Park. The 150 guests are expected to include Dame Judi Dench, Annie Lennox, Sabrina Guinness, Amanda Wakeley, Emma Freud and Lady Antonia Fraser. The lunch is in support of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safer Motherhood, which campaigns to reduce maternal mortality.

That night, London's bigwigs will take their turn as dinner hosts. The City of London Corporation and the Lord Mayor of the City of London, David Lewis, will host a banquet in honor of the Sarkozys at the Guildhall in East London. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will be the senior royals on hand, and guests will include one of London's foremost Frenchmen — Arnaud Bamberger, chief of Cartier in the U.K., and his wife, Carla. Perhaps Bamberger will bring along a little bauble for his country's president.
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