PEON HOMAGE: Often, it’s hard to understand what private public relations companies do to earn their retainers beyond setting up voice mail for event RSVPs and crisis management. But then, every once in a while, a firm does something clever that justifies its existence.
Harrison & Shriftman has organized a special screening of “The Devil Wears Prada.” For assistants.
Invitations to the June 20 event at the Manhattan home of the Directors Guild of America went out this week, addressed to “Asst. to Graydon Carter,” “Asst. to Brandon Holley,” “Asst. to Ingrid Sischy,” “Asst. to Charla Lawhon,” “Asst. to Hal Rubenstein” and, no doubt, to the assistants of various other top editors in New York. (Anna Wintour‘s assistant, however, may not be among them. A spokesman for Vogue, the alleged backdrop of the novel on which the film is based, said no one at that magazine had received an invitation as of Wednesday afternoon.)
A representative for Harrison & Shriftman did not return calls before press time, but it appears the event was orchestrated to put the products of at least two clients in front of, albeit lowly, editorial employees. The “finest high-powered assistants in town!” also will be treated to liquor drinks by Corzo, “the evolution of tequila,” and a “complimentary makeup styling by Sephora.”
At least one assistant to an editor in chief can skip the event altogether, though, having already seen the film. A Hearst spokeswoman said newly installed editor in chief of Marie Claire, Joanna Coles, took her brand new assistant, Lizzie Dunlap, to see the movie on Dunlap’s first day of work. During the credits, Coles turned to her new minion and said, “If you ever do that to me, we split the royalties.”
— Sara James
DADDY’S GIRL: If you were flipping through the July/August issue of Brides and thought you spotted a certain magazine executive looking verklempt as he walked his daughter down the aisle, no, your eyes weren’t failing you. That was Steve Florio, formerly chief executive officer of Condé Nast, who now has the title of vice chairman of Advance Magazine Group.
This story first appeared in the June 15, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Florio’s daughter, Kelly, who is an events coordinator for Vogue, married David Kasouf, an oil futures trader, in November in Key Largo during a 72-hour celebration entitled “Three Days in Tuscany” that also featured a street fair with Miami opera singers and a “Panini Golf Tournament.”
“We had invited a handful of people from Condé Nast,” said the elder Florio. “You figure, when you haven’t been their boss in two years, they probably won’t show up. But to their credit, they came: Chuck Townsend, John Bellando, Jill Bright and Millie Bratten, the editor in chief of Brides. [Bratten] was taking all these pictures with her digital camera, and I said, ‘What’s that for?’ and she said, ‘You’ll see.’ “
So let’s get this straight: An honorary executive of a division of the company that technically no longer exists following Condé Nast Publications’ restructuring at the beginning of the year is shown in one of the company’s own magazines (Brides) with his daughter, who works for another Condé Nast title (Vogue), and you’re reading about it in WWD, which is also owned by Condé Nast Publications.
Bratten said the Florio name was not a factor in putting the wedding in the magazine. “It all comes down to the bride and groom and what they’re doing and where the ideas are,” she said. “That’s sort of the guiding light.”
As for the young couple, who just crossed the seven-month mark, Florio said: “We call them ‘the Shmoopies.’ They can’t stop touching each other.” He added that the strong-willed Florio genes run deep in his daughter. “Yeah, we know who wears the pants in that family,” he quipped.