NEW YORK -- There's buzz, but not much biz so far at the new Harper's Bazaar.
For the most part, industry executives gave the thumbs-up to the magazine's February issue, which is being billed as editor Glenda Bailey's official debut -- although they said it still has some way to go. And on a totally objective measure -- ad pages -- they seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude. There are only 84 ad pages in Bailey's debut, down 35 percent from the 128.61 pages a year ago, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Admittedly, the economy is in a recession and magazines have been struggling for ad pages, but the February Bazaar is 43 percent smaller in ad pages than Kate Betts's debut in February 2000, which carried 147.87 ad pages. Then there is the debut of Liz Tilberis in September 1992, which had a whopping 251.24 ad pages. Of course, that was a September issue.
Overall, though, the reviews for Bailey's effort were positive, even if one critic described it as "Vogue meets Lucky," and another said it's trying to be too many things to too many people. They praised the front and back covers of Gisele Bundchen, believing that it made a strong statement, although some said privately that the publicity surrounding it didn't measure up to how much they would have earned if they sold the back cover.
Here's what an informal survey of designers and advertisers had to say about Bailey's debut:
Donna Karan: "I loved it. I thought it looked fresh and exciting. I wanted to go to the next page. It kept my interest. I thought it had energy and clarity and it's something I'm looking forward to seeing the next issue of. I see its potential, and Glenda's passion for what she's doing."
Giorgio Armani (whose dress Gisele is wearing on the front and back covers): "I congratulate Glenda Bailey and Stephen Gan for having the courage to rediscover the wonderful heritage of Harper's Bazaar. Harper's Bazaar is once again celebrating fashion as it should be seen, with great beauty, great style and, most importantly, in a way that's accessible for modern women."
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