STILL A GO?: Hearst Magazines is denying reports that it has finally given up on Lauren. Although sources said the proposed magazine is finished, the Hearst spokeswoman said, “The Lauren project will continue to be studied in magazine development.” She said that editors, including John Howell, continue to toil on the project. Howell couldn’t be reached for comment.

NORWICH HITS THE ROAD: William Norwich, who writes the Style Diary column for the New York Observer, has taken a sabbatical. The reason for the hiatus? Norwich said book publisher Grove Atlantic has promised to publish his novel if he finishes it by Oct. 1. Norwich is three-quarters through a book entitled, “Learning to Drive.”

Norwich said his novel was inspired by an event that happened a few years ago. “Anna Wintour and I went to driving school. It was very easy for her to learn to drive and very difficult for me. It brought back memories of my childhood.” Norwich said he’s kept his Vogue job and will return to the Observer the second week of October.

CHANGING OF THE BRIDE: Barbara Tober, editor in chief of Bride’s & Your New Home for 28 years, plans to retire. She’ll be succeeded by executive editor Millie Martini Bratten. Martini Bratten, 40, has been with the magazine, published by Condé Nast, since 1976. Tober, 60, will stay on for the next few months as editorial adviser.

SCIASCIA TO MARIE CLAIRE: Sciascia Gambaccini, former senior fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, has been named fashion director at Marie Claire, a new post. Both are published by Hearst.

KINSLER TO PLAYBOY: Richard Kinsler, former publisher of New York magazine, has been appointed executive vice president and publisher of Playboy. He takes over some of the duties formerly handled by Michael S. Perlis, who became publisher of Details.

VOGUE PROMOTION: Thomas H. Hartman has been named ad director of Vogue, succeeding Diane Oshin, who will join Parenting Group, a unit of Time Publishing Ventures, as publisher Oct. 10. Hartman had been ad manager since 1993, prior to which he was ad director at Elle.