(NEW YORK) As the fashion-forward CEO of AdvanStar, former Condé exec Tom Florio has traded one fabulous circus for another. Between producing 10 (yes, 10!) trade shows and updating each with cutting edge technology, it’s lucky this ringleader can work with…MAGIC.
BY DENA SILVER
You went from running publications to running trade shows; did you pick up many styling tips from the halls of Condé Nast?
Hopefully I was driving the styling tips not picking them up!
What’s been the biggest difference?
There’s this shift between luxury retailers and designers into a more contemporary space, which I saw as a huge untapped territory for growth. If we did it properly, I thought we’d be able to ignite a market, re-brand all these individual shows and launch them around the world.
So how’s it going?
It’s going! It’s going fast and it’s transformative. When I got here 18 months ago, my vision for MAGIC was to make it the largest contemporary market week in the world. And since, we’ve launched the highest end premium show.
What do you credit the success to?
We have tightly curated shows positioned together under one roof for the retailer. Yet at the heart of it are all these individual communities.
How’s that changing things?
It’s kind of like Coterie West, to some degree. You have these elevated brands and as a result we bring in the top retailers. So now we have Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf’s, Barneys, and Fred Segal.
How are you taking advantage of technology?
With the evolution of Shop The Floor, MAGIC is now e-commerce activated. So the whole relationship with the show and the individual is now 24/7.
Are there any new brands that you’re excited to feature this year?
There are quite a few. We have Theory Men’s, Hugo Boss, Catherine Malandrino and Eileen Fisher over at MAGIC. We actually have a lot of new brands, over 1,500 of them! I don’t think you can go anywhere in the world and see more brands over three days.
What do you think is the appeal for all these high-end designers?
It’s somewhere between the runway and a trade show. So you can do presentations and see trends, but at the same time you can do business. This was particularly important because the runway shows are so late now, and 60 percent of the buy is done before the shows.
How many buyers will it attract?
There will be over 30,000 buyers in town for four days over every classification: footwear, men’s, women’s, and sourcing. It attracts retail from all over the world rather than just the West Coast or west of the Mississippi, as it was many years ago. It’s now an international show.
What’s your rapport with PROJECT president and fashion director Tommy Fazio?
We work very closely together. He’s a great creative mind; he brings something completely different to this business. As the creative director of both Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, he’s both identified and built so many brands and always does it with a consumer point of view. You really need to be able to understand quality, not just cool. I think Tommy is the perfect combination of both.
So will you be in Las Vegas for the show?
Oh yeah! For me, this is like doing 10 September issues all at once because I have 10 shows going off all at one time. There is WWDMAGIC, Sourcing, FN Platform, WSA @ MAGIC, PROJECT MVMNT, MAGIC Men’s, Pool Tradeshow, The TENTS, PROJECT and ENKVegas. Needless to say, I will be busy.
No downtime, huh?
Not even to see Céline Dion?
If I go it will be to walk my clients in and that’s it.
If you weren’t super busy, where would we find you?