FRENCH ACCENT: Hearst Magazines International and Groupe Marie Claire, publisher of Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan in France, plan to launch a French edition of Harper’s Bazaar, WWD has learned. French journalist Alexandra Senes has been appointed editor in chief.
“Even though the market isn’t growing for the moment, it’s a very strategic market to be in over the long term,” said Duncan Edwards, president of Hearst Magazines International, noting that France is one of the biggest economies in Europe and the world. “Besides that, [launching in France is very important] because of the fashion heritage of France. I wish we launched there a long time ago.
“A great product and a great brand can create room in its market,” Edwards asserted.
The move comes at a time when Hearst is pursuing the internationalization of Harper’s Bazaar. Germany and Japan are set to launch before the end of 2013, with Margit J. Mayer and Akiko Mori being named the editors in chief of the German and Japanese editions. These three introductions will bring the total number of editions of Harper’s Bazaar to 30.
Paid circulation in France of French women’s magazines fell 3.4 percent in 2012 to 371.6 million copies, according to France’s Circulation Audit Bureau. Still, there is a flurry of new launches in France, including Stylist, a free women’s magazine also launched by Groupe Marie Claire earlier this year, while Condé Nast’s much-awaited French Vanity Fair is set to hit newsstands on June 26.
Harper’s Bazaar plans to publish 12 issues a year and target a “high-scale readership,” according to Edwards, who declined to reveal the launch date.
“There is no specific age range for the Harper’s Bazaar reader who is interested in the culture of fashion,” Edwards said, citing the popularity of the feature “Fabulous at Every Age” appearing in the U.S. edition, which “sends a powerful message.”
Hearst publishes Marie Claire magazine in many markets. However, this is the first time the company and Groupe Marie Claire are collaborating on an edition of Harper’s Bazaar.
Edwards and Arnaud de Contades, chief executive officer of Groupe Marie Claire, identified a number of potential editors in chief, but enthused about Senes’ ideas for the magazine. Senes, who launched Jalouse magazine in 1998 and served as editor in chief for eight years, most recently contributed to L’Officiel and Architectural Digest.
Founder of a communications agency named SAS, she also hosted and produced the fashion series “La Vitrine” on French TV channel Paris Première and curated fashion exhibitions for department stores Printemps and Le Bon Marché. In 2012 she launched Kilometre, a clothing line sold at Colette in Paris.
Senes said would be international in scope, speaking about “Philippine contemporary art, as well as Brazilian design or Norwegian cuisine.…I see further than Paris’ Left Bank.”