RX FOR FLORIO: Steven T. Florio, president and chief executive officer of Conde Nast Publications, wants to set the record straight about his health.
Rumors have been circulating that Florio, who’s been away from the office for several weeks, was seriously ill.
“I had a good scare,” Florio told WWD, from his new Oyster Bay home Wednesday. “I got back from Scotland [in early September] and had a little temperature and felt a little achy. I thought I had the flu. I took a blood test and found out I had something very treatable. It’s a strep infection of the blood system.”
Florio was put on IV for 28 days and had to drastically curtail his heavy work schedule. After staying home for a few weeks, he planned to work two days this week, three days next week and four the next.
“The rumors have been unbelievable,” said Florio. Fortunately, he said, the doctors caught the strep in three days. “If I didn’t catch it, and it went on for six months, then I could have died,” he said.
Florio said he was tested for every disease in the world. “It’s wasn’t lyme, it wasn’t cancer, it wasn’t kidneys.”
He said he’s received cards, flowers, letters, how-to books about golf and a gallon of matzoh ball soup from the Second Avenue Deli from Self editor Rochelle Udell. And Estee Lauder’s Robin Burns sent him a tree.
“I’m hooked up here with a computer and a fax machine, and I’m talking to everybody,” said Florio. He was supposed to accompany Anna Wintour to the European collections, but had to cancel the trip. Plus, he had to cancel his appearance at Magazine Day later this month and the GQ Man of the Year Awards Wednesday night.
“I feel fine. I can’t be in crowds. I can’t fly,” said Florio. He also stopped smoking cigars, which was a two-to-three-a-week habit. “Now, I haven’t smoked in a month.”
Despite all the cutbacks, there’s one bright note. “I’ve lost 20 pounds in three weeks.” He said he showed up at the office on Tuesday wearing a suit he hadn’t worn in five years. “Mr. Florio, you look wonderful,” his secretary noted.
Florio, who hadn’t been off since 1987, when he had the flu, has taken to supervising domestic matters at home. “You got to get the corners,” he instructed the cleaning lady one afternoon, who promptly complained to his wife that she couldn’t work with the Conde Nast honcho underfoot all day.

SEPTEMBER GAINS: Ad revenues in the apparel, footwear and accessories category increased 7 percent in September to $119.4 million, according to Publishers Information Bureau. From January through September, ad revenues were up 12.5 percent to $540.5 million.
In toiletries and cosmetics, ad revenues in September grew 4 percent to $106.3 million. From January to September, ad revenues in the category were up 16.4 percent to $803.2 million.

GUCCI SWITCH: Gucci is searching for a new photographer for its spring rtw campaign. Mario Testino, the photographer responsible for Gucci’s directional image ads in the last few seasons, will still shoot the underwear campaign, according to a Gucci spokeswoman.

EXTRA: To build hype for the upcoming VH1 Fashion Awards, airing Tuesday, Oct. 28, the music-video network plans to beef up fashion-related programming in the coming weeks. This includes a special episode of Fashion Kingdom airing Oct. 25, which will chronicle fashion’s early moments on the tube, from the 1950s through the 1970s. Included are Diana Vreeland on the Mike Douglas Show, Bee Gee Barry Gibb receiving a best-dressed-man award and Twiggy modeling her own fashion creations.

FUELING UP: Fuel, an entertainment and fashion magazine focusing on the gay community, will debut in Los Angeles in late November. The quarterly publication will print 25,000 copies of its first issue, with 10,000 being distributed through the mail, another 1,000 hitting the newsstands and the remainder slated for promotional giveaways at Fuel-sponsored events, said Gil Even, associate publisher.
“We’re doing a lot of entertainment, fashion for the gay community and their friends. It’s an open-minded magazine with a full-color cover, no sex art,” Even said. Both men’s and women’s fashions will be included in the magazine, he said. Advertisers include both local and national companies, including J&B Scotch, Intel, Tag Heuer and General Motors, he said.
The editor is Max Harrold and the publisher is John Hines.

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