Fashion Scoops: Royal Flush... Basso Bows Out... Schur Sabbatical...

Marc Jacobs is known for his close rapport with artists — and keen cultural instincts.

SPEAKING FRENCH: Olivier Theyskens of Nina Ricci can add one more plume to his cap: lecturer. The designer has been tapped to give a talk in New York on Dec. 7 at New York's French Institute Alliance Française as part of a monthlong series of fashion-related events. Pamela Golbin, curator of 20th-century and contemporary fashion at Paris' Museum of Fashion and Textiles, will chair a series of talks and quiz Theyskens and other designers. She's also rounded up Hermès' men's wear designer, Véronique Nichanian, and shoe guru Bruno Frisoni of Roger Vivier to give talks at FIAF's Florence Gould Hall on Nov. 9 and 30, respectively.

SLIM FAST: Nicolas Sarkozy may have won a spot on Vanity Fair's 68th annual International Best-Dressed List, but he's a tad more controversial when he doffs his shirt. Joining Russian President Vladimir Putin in this summer's parade of topless heads of state, Sarkozy was captured paddling a canoe bare-chested during his U.S. vacation, and the photos were published earlier this month in Paris Match. But rival weekly L'Express has cried foul, saying the magazine, headed by Sarkozy's buddy Arnaud Lagardère, used Photoshop to minimize the French president's love handles. Perhaps he ate too many hotdogs on holiday in New Hampshire?

VARVATOS FITNESS TEST: Equinox Fitness has done so well with John Varvatos' Star USA label in its top health clubs that the nationwide chain is already lobbying the designer to develop a women's version. The designer is said to have one in the works, according to retail buyer Karyn Riale. In addition, Equinox is in talks with Varvatos about developing a cobranded label, she said.

TEN SPOT: Veronique Branquinho, one of Antwerp, Belgium's second-generation fashion stars, is getting ready to blow out the candles for her house's 10th birthday. To mark the milestone, Branquinho will unveil a new project at her Paris show in October: She's guest editor of the next issue of the Flanders Institute's A Magazine, which has also invited the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Martin Margiela. What's more, Antwerp's fashion museum Momu will host a retrospective Branquinho exhibition in February.
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