FLORIO’S NEXT ACT: Steve Florio is interviewing. With less than six months to go on his contract with Condé Nast, the former chief executive officer and current vice chairman has begun talking to prospective future employers in earnest.

One job he definitely won’t be taking? The hospital administrator position a headhunter called him about recently. “I’ve seen enough hospitals in the last few years, thank you very much,” said Florio, who had heart surgery to replace a faulty valve in 1999 and a second surgery a few years later to correct a manufacturer’s defect on the replacement valve.

His binding agreement with Condé Nast, which is ongoing, prevents him from working for a competing magazine company in the future, but otherwise, he’s a free agent. Florio also has gotten calls about non-competing publishing jobs and jobs within the fashion and beauty industries, as well as teaching positions, thanks to the fall lecture series he’s been doing for the MBA program at New York University’s Stern School of Business for the past few years.

Speaking of which, Martha Stewart and Susan Lyne, the president and ceo of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, have signed on to return this year to give a lecture to Florio’s students. (They packed one of NYU’s auditoriums last year.) Michael Eisner tentatively has agreed to be a Florio guest and recruiter Michele James of James & Co. and MTV president and chief operating officer Michael Wolf will be speaking. An ask is also out to Charlie Rose with whom Florio could certainly discuss heart scares.
Sara James

CALVIN-ISH MONKS: Calvin Klein‘s brand always has been synonymous with minimalism, but monkish austerity? Vanity Fair’s Matt Tyrnauer says Klein’s flagship on Madison Avenue was the inspiration behind a new Trappist monastery in the Czech Republic. In Vanity Fair’s August issue, on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles today, Tyrnauer writes that a group of monks selected John Pawson as their architect after seeing photos of the Calvin Klein store in a book showing Pawson’s work: “They were especially impressed, [Pawson] says, with ‘a photograph of the main sales floor from above, with two tables that to them looked like they could be altars.'” Albeit altars for a very different type of religion.

This story first appeared in the July 5, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Tyrnauer goes on to write, “The Trappists even considered having new robes made by Klein. The designer flew by private jet to Novy Dvur, met with the abbot and dined with the monks. He then selected very expensive wool — which he planned to donate — from the oldest loom in Lyon. The robes were to be embellished with ancient gold thread found in Milan.”

But alas, the luxe designer robes were not to be. “I’m not really sure what was said,” Pawson told Tyrnauer, “but Calvin was quite cross. And I do think the abbot became concerned that there might be articles headlined ‘Monk Chic.'”

TOP SHOT: Paris-based fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, who previously has shot campaigns for fashion houses such as Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, has trained his soft-focus lens to street level for the first time. In the latest high-low shuffle, British High Street chain Topshop has nabbed the revered Italian lensman for its fall-winter campaign, to be released in August. The ads will appear in British-based magazines such as Vogue and the recently launched Lula, as well as Topshop’s Internet site and store windows. Topshop executives declined to disclose the budget. Under the creative direction of Ronnie Cooke Newhouse and styled by Kate Phelan, the story stars new faces Anna Kushkina, Charlotte di Calypso, Eva Hélène, Valeria Garcia and Angelle Boucher in a series of individual studio poses, surrounded by atmospheric halos of eggshell blue lighting. “We wanted to lift it out of looking like a typical High Street brand,” said Newhouse, adding Roversi was enthusiastic to take on the project, having heard so many models mentioning Topshop. “It’s become a destination when people go to London, and has developed the allure of a high-fashion label,” she said. Roversi succeeds art photographer Jeff Mermelstein, who had shot the Topshop campaigns since 2004.
Katya Foreman

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