Less than a year ago Joe Lagani was lured from Meredith by Conde Nast to take the publisher's job at their House & Garden, a monthly that has changed its name, gone out of business, been revived, and under editor Dominique Browning enjoyed something of a renaissance. Says Joe (over lunch at 21 and in a followup note), "We have a secret weapon... Dominique, our editor for 10 years...the only voice in the field to speak about the meaning and emotional connection her readers want in their homes. But, Joe, don't all shelter magazines issue similar pronouncements? House & Garden, he points out, enjoyed nine rate base increases in nine years, now sells 900,000 copies, and received three National Mag Award nominations since 2000. And the ad picture? Well, that's why Lagani's come to town. He claims the book "continues to increase share of market," but admits, "in a difficult market, (They're) essentially flat in terms of ad pages for the first half." So what is Joe doing about it? New advertisers seem to be part of the answer, among them in 2005, Cartier, Microsoft, MasterCard, Phillips Electronics, Subaru, Kate Spade. What else? He doubts my report O At Home is selling 600,000 copies on newsstands. And he and his wife, Donna, publisher of Hearst's Cosmo, don't talk shop.
I never heard so much blather about a "tell-all" book Steve Florio says he isn't going to write.
Greg Coleman (longtime biggie at Reader's Digest), newly rich from his West Coast triumphs with Yahoo!, returned to the Hamptons over Fourth of July to host (with Daniel Rosensweig) his annual beach party for pals, families and kids on Cranberry Hole Road, Amagansett.
Barbara Fairchild of Bon Appetit got Sophia Loren to do a Q&A about food, her peppers, Parmesan, pasta sauces, and, mamma mia! the time (in 1954's "Attila") she had to smooch with Tony Quinn while he was gnawing a roast chicken.
Does anyone like Ed Klein's new book?
Cruise West in Seattle named Warren Sukernek VP-sales, marketing, reservations. Someone else steers.
Architectural Digest teams with coffee table publisher Harry N. Abrams to issue "Hollywood at Home" in November (in time for Christmas giving). They'll chronicle the lives and styles of Cary Grant, Cecil B. DeMille, Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Travolta, Garbo and like that. Tom Cruise is checking with Scientology to see if it's OK.
A Campbell-Ewald survey informs us having children is passe. "Many well-educated, self-starting individuals instead are adopting pets and doting over them as a substitute for parenthood."
Ellen Cannon is the new editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group. They publish Naples Illustrated, Tampa Bay Ditto and the flagship, Palm Beach Illustrated. Ellen worked for Time Inc., Conde Nast and Bloomberg Financial.
A house near mine on Further Lane in East Hampton is reportedly going for $90 million. Has three bedrooms.
Who's having the lousier season, Bush or the Yankees?