Lunched at the Carlyle Hotel with Paige Rense of Architectural Digest. The Carlyle's Caesar salad needed work, but the great Paige was in smashing form. She and her artist-husband, who were about to fly off by chartered jet for a long weekend in southern Vermont, keep an apartment upstairs at the Carlyle for the eastern leg of their deliciously bi-coastal existence. I fail to understand why no one's yet thought of Paige's life as the stuff of a sleekly sophisticated sitcom. Oh, yes, her magazine. After all these years, Archy Digest remains a hot book. Publisher Amy Churgin tells me the August issue has 12% more ad pages than last year's and the PIB figures have it up for the year (through June) by 7%. To me, the Digest's appeal is based on the quality of the byline writing (Paul Goldberger et al), and on its reality-based fantasy. Most of us won't ever live this splendidly but we love seeing how the other half (the other one-tenth of 1%?) lives. Diana Vreeland used to talk about "the beautiful people." Paige shows us their beautiful places. She tells me she's happier working under Si Newhouse than she ever thought she'd be. They even, she tells me, have long and fascinating conversations. Punctuated, she says, with "a few long pauses." And that years ago, long before Conde Nast bought her magazine, they tried to buy her, offering a big job supervising "several magazines" not identified by her. Paige says she was flattered, slept on it, and in the end said, "no." Funny, but didn't the wooing of John Fairchild follow a similar curve? A job offer years earlier; then the acquisition of his publications?
Lance Ford drops a note to tell me the September Maxim is the biggest so far, with 130 pages.
What a blow to the Garden State: Bob Torricelli won't be running for guv.
Fitness (a Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing book) promoted Randy Frank Leeds to associate publisher.
Weider's Jump ("for girls who dare to be real") celebrated three years in business, with revenues up 60% over a year ago.
Tom Cruise on the cover of July McCall's (my issue was late) sure looks retouched. Why do you have to retouch Tom Cruise?
Up the ladder at Parade, Bonnie St. Clair was promoted to an exec editor.
House & Garden Editor Dominique Browning and St. Vincent's in New York sponsor an auction Sept. 28 to benefit breast cancer research.
New art director for House Beautiful is Nora Sheehan.
Christine Miller becomes chief marketing officer of Discovery.com. She was at MPA.
Forbes' American Legacy mag, which bills itself as a "celebration of African-American history and culture," may have surprised skeptics by marking its fifth anniversary. How's it doing? Publisher Rodney Reynolds, whose company is in a co-venture arrangement with Forbes, says the September issue will be their biggest ever (94 pages overall) and that year to date they're up 42% in ad pages and 33% in dollars.