By and  on March 1, 2002

WHAT'S UP WITH COOPER?: Art Cooper, editor in chief of GQ, isn't worried. Despite a published item in the Delaney Report that Cooper's star is beginning to fade and his art director, Fred Woodward is now reporting straight to S.I. Newhouse Jr., Cooper said it's all hogwash.

"It's the most ridiculous thing," said Cooper this week. "Believe me, it's untrue. I have no plans to leave, and S.I. [Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast] has no plans. You can ask him. I'd love to know who leaked that to Delaney, although I have a suspicion. Once every decade some moron prints something like that, and usually that moron is Delaney. Then I get a big hug from Florio and more money."

So did he get his hug from Steven Florio, president of Conde Nast? "Yes." And what about more money? "It'll be coming."

As for the nasty Cooper rumors, Newhouse's spokeswoman told WWD: "This is absolutely, totally untrue."

Cooper has been running GQ for almost 19 years. The year got off to a shaky start, with ad pages through March off 12.4 percent, following a 13.1 percent drop last year.

"Business is tough," acknowledged Cooper. But he said Ron Galotti, the new vp, publisher, begins Monday.

"The magazine is cooking, especially with Fred. The March issue is the first one he got his hands on. It's the biggest March in a decade+.Things are cool," concluded Cooper.

McDEAN SHOOTS FOR VOGUE: Well, it looks like Craig McDean and Harper's Bazaar have officially parted ways, as reported. According to informed sources, McDean is doing a shoot for Vogue.

"We're speaking to Craig McDean and we're hoping to work with him. Nothing's happened yet," said a Vogue spokesman. However, sources indicate a shoot is under way. McDean's agent didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

THIS JUST IN: Lesley Jane Seymour, editor in chief of Marie Claire, has promoted Lucy Sykes to fashion director, succeeding Mary Alice Stephenson, who joined Harper's Bazaar in a similar post last summer. Sykes had been style director. In addition, Tracy Taylor, senior fashion editor, succeeds Sykes as style director.

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