THE TOAST of the Paris menswear shows was not a designer, but a journalist. James Truman, aged 35, has been appointed as the all-powerful editorial director of Conde Nast Publishing, a New York-based job that puts Truman in overall control of fashion's big one - US Vogue. Truman will also oversee Vanity Fair and GQ plus a host of other well- known magazines.

In Paris, fellow hacks and press officers offered congratulations, paid homage and in some cases bowed and scraped. Yet only last week Truman was the editor of Details in the US, a relatively well-respected but off-beat men's magazine which did not even guarantee him front-row seats at the fashion shows.

Truman's rise has been vertiginous. He started at London's Hampstead & Highgate Express, moved stateside as US correspondent for Melody Maker, and soon after was appointed US editor for the Face. A fellow Brit, Anna Wintour, the bird-sized editor of US Vogue, took him under her wing and soon he was at Details, where he quadrupled circulation within three years.

Softly spoken and with a neat line in self- deprecating humour, James Truman was playing down rumours that his appointment will further foment the anti-British backlash taking place in New York publishing circles: 'People are trying to whip up some ridiculous jingoistic fervour, but it simply doesn't exist. Anyway, I got such abuse when I took over Details that this will be kids' play.'