GEARING UP: Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey may be looking in her very own backyard for a replacement for exiting fashion director Mary Alice Stephenson. According to sources, Bailey has extended an offer to longtime editor at large Brana Wolf, who for years had resisted taking a full-time role at the magazine because of her freelance career as a stylist.
This story first appeared in the April 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now Wolf is said to be stepping up to the plate. Final negotiations are under way and although she and Bailey have to sort out an arrangement that would fairly address her lucrative campaign work, Bazaar sources said there could be a formal announcement in the next few days.
With Wolf likely to be moving up and Stephenson moving out, the magazine has also been talking about bringing in another senior level stylist in a contributing role similar to Wolf’s position. Katie Grand, the stylist and editor behind the British upstart Pop, denied she’s been contacted, but others said she told a different story in private and acknowledged that the magazine had been in contact with her and Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the team whom Grand frequently works with.
Another possibility entails the magazine tapping Lori Goldstein as a contributor, but some thought that might not go over well with Wolf, since the two women have frequently competed for campaign work with photographer Steven Meisel on Prada, Versace and Valentino.
“He [Meisel] plays them off one another,” said a source familiar with the situation. “He breaks up with one and calls the other, then he breaks up with her and goes back to the other one.”
At the same time, the two have long styled shoots for Italian Vogue.
But what will become of creative director Stephen Gan? According to sources familiar with the situation, Gan and Bailey have grown more distant in recent months. “He wants to see what direction the magazine goes in with Brana moving up,” said one source on the magazine, “but he’s been frustrated.” The magazine has ascended on newsstands since Gan and Bailey came in, but working within increasingly commercial guidelines has sometimes been difficult for him. Last month, to his consternation, sources said he discovered that the image of Penélope Cruz going on the cover had been switched by Bailey without consulting him.
But Bailey, through a spokeswoman, denied that there was any friction between them. The magazine offered no comment on Stephenson’s replacement. — Jacob Bernstein
YET ANOTHER WEEKLY’S STYLE: Thinking that anything Time and Business Week can do to woo advertisers, it can do better, Newsweek is joining the chase for fashion and luxury ads with a special, all-design issue slated for Oct. 20. Unlike its rivals, Newsweek will keep its coverage in a regularly scheduled issue instead of spinning it off as an outsert — and it’s just the start of what executives describe as a strategy to boost the presence of design, architecture and fashion coverage in succeeding issues.
But it’s still about the ads — scary as that sounds considering how poorly those industries are faring. But compared with former staples like technology, “they seem to have weathered the storm better than the other sectors,” said worldwide publisher Greg Osberg. “In the international editions, watches, for example, is one of our strongest categories.”
With that motive in mind, executive editor Dorothy Kalins is walking the same thin line editorially that Belinda Luscombe did at Time Style & Design — sounding knowing enough to impress the advertisers but not enough to alienate the readers. And Kalins is sure she’ll do a better job of maintaining the right tone. “The Time thing was a magazine that didn’t feel like it was connecting. They were just a bunch of stories,” Kalins sniped. (“We felt we got the mix right,” Luscombe countered, naturally.)
It doesn’t necessarily mean the magazine will duck high fashion or go lowbrow. “We will go to shows,” Kalins vowed, and she’s organizing seminars with the likes of MoMA curator Paola Antonelli to bring the staff up to speed — but don’t look for Valentino ads in the magazine anytime soon. Osberg plans to pitch the issue first to existing advertisers in automotive and tech. After that, he said, he’ll turn to fashion and jewelry advertisers in Europe, where Newsweek readers have incomes almost $40,000 more than their domestic counterparts, according to its surveys. (Similar demographics are why Time and Business Week launched their initial style forays on the Continent as well.)
But will the readers be ready for what is comparative fluff during Iraq’s reconstruction? “These all are the sorts of things that used to be in the magazine,” said Kalins. “And once we get out of Iraq and back to real life — or maybe this is real life…” — Greg Lindsay
20 QUESTIONS ABOUT LUCKY FOR MEN: James Truman, proud as ever of his most successful brainchild, Lucky, dropped in on the magazine’s party for creative director Andrea Linett on Tuesday night. Asked about his encore, the so-called Lucky For Men, Truman didn’t have much to say about his ongoing search for an editor in chief. Did he want an established fashion editor or another dark horse, like Lucky’s Kim France had been? He was looking in several places, he replied. How many candidates was he interviewing? “A few.” Were these candidates on the short list? “Yes.” Was this the first or second round of interviews? “The second.” So when would he name an editor? Likely or probably “next week.” And then, tired of the game, he smiled, nodded and slipped away. On Thursday, though, Truman hedged a bit on the timing of an editor’s appointment. A spokeswoman said that he “hoped” to name an editor in two weeks. — G. L.