HARPER’S, WITHOUT ITS QUEEN: Britain’s new-generation Harper’s Bazaar, formerly Harpers and Queen, hits U.K. newsstands today — and it’s about time, said editor Lucy Yeomans.
“People see Queen, and they think of a little old lady with corgis in a castle. The name no longer reflected what — and who — we are,” said Yeomans. “And the Sloane Ranger legacy has dogged us since the Eighties.”
The magazine was launched in Britain in 1929 as Harper’s Bazaar, and in 1970 it merged with the utterly cool and youth-driven magazine Queen. In the Eighties, it was famous for its racy society pages and its coverage of the Sloane Rangers, a term coined by contributing editor Peter York. The March issue marks the birth of the 21st Harper’s Bazaar worldwide, and the magazine has a logo similar to its U.S. sister’s. In the British version, however, the Harper’s lettering is big — and the apostrophe is back — while the Bazaar is tiny. Over the next few years that, too, will change, and the logo will look more like that of its sister additions’. “This is evolution, not revolution,” said Yeomans, who’s wooed a fresh pack of photographers and contributors to the title. Photographers include Alexei Hay, Louis Sanchez, Michelangelo di Battista and Jean Baptiste Mondino. Norman Jean Roy shot Cate Blanchett for the March cover. Manolo Blahnik is the new film columnist, Sarajane Hoare is a contributing fashion editor and writer Justine Picardie will pen a column called Fashion Undressed, about the psychology behind dressing. For the March issue, Yeomans drafted Josephine Hart, the author of “Damage,” to interview Jeremy Irons (who starred in the film) and author Andrea Ashworth to write the cover story on Blanchett. Tim Burton, Tracey Emin, Keith Tyson, Gary Hume and Sam Taylor-Wood all plan to contribute to upcoming issues.
This story first appeared in the February 9, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The March issue boasts 50 more ad pages than the year before, and new advertisers include Antonio Berardi, Paul and Joe, Belstaff, Sonia Rykiel, Lacoste and John Richmond. Revenue is up 62 percent in the March issue. The latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures don’t come out until next week, but since Yeomans took over five years ago, average circulation has grown to 100,102 from 83,000. The magazine is expecting to report its highest-ever circulation figure next week.
— Samantha Conti
FREY REHASHED: James Frey wasn’t the official topic of a Court TV-sponsored panel discussion held Wednesday morning at the Manhattan restaurant Michael’s, but he might as well have been. The mendacious memoirist’s name was almost continually on the lips of the panelists: “60 Minutes” creator Don Hewitt, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, author and journalist Sir Harold Evans and William Bastone, editor in chief of The Smoking Gun, the Web site that revealed the extent of Frey’s fabrications.
Evans, who was president of Random House from 1990 to 1997, suggested publishers adopt a new category for the likes of Frey: the “false memoir.” He also had harsh words for Oprah Winfrey, who guaranteed the book bestseller status when she selected it for her book club. “I think Oprah did harm to the concept of the book as a valuable artifact,” he said. “It was irresponsible of her, before she blessed this piece of nonsense, not to do some checking.”
Cohen, who participated in Winfrey’s on-air demolition of Frey in January, was more forgiving of the woman he labeled “mensch of the year.” “I wouldn’t blame her if she thought, ‘Well, it’s a Random House book, it’s Nan Talese, it’s got to be true.'” He called for publishers to institute fact-checking for nonfiction books – a measure Evans insisted would put them out of business. Hewitt, meanwhile, dismissed the whole debate as irrelevant: “Do you realize the biggest bestseller of all time was never fact-checked? It’s called the Bible.”
Time managing editor Jim Kelly, who moderated the panel, steered the discussion away from Frey long enough to ask Hewitt if he would have fired Dan Rather over the “Memogate” fake-document scandal had he been running CBS News at the time. Hewitt admitted he would have: “I have a built-in bias against reporters who, under the guise of being objective, have an axe to grind.”
— Jeff Bercovici