Six months after Glenda Bailey revealed she was stepping down from Harper’s Bazaar, Hearst Magazines executives have finally named her successor.
Samira Nasr has just been unveiled as Bazaar’s new editor in chief — the first Black EIC in the history of the 153-year-old publication. She joins from Vanity Fair, where she has worked as executive fashion director since 2018.
Nasr is no stranger to Hearst Tower, though, having worked as Elle’s fashion director for five years. Prior to that, she was style director for InStyle and has also styled campaigns for fashion and beauty brands including Laura Mercier, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Clarins and more. She began her career in fashion working as an assistant to Grace Coddington at Vogue.
She takes over at Bazaar on July 6.
The appointment of Nasr, who is well thought of in the industry, will widely be viewed as a move to attract a younger audience to Bazaar.
It also comes at a time when the police killing of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests have led many staffers to call out media companies for their record on diversity and treatment of people of color. Already, this has led to the ousting of Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport and Refinery29 editor in chief Christene Barberich.
In a statement, Nasr touched on some of the changes she plans to make to the fashion glossy, which include making it more inclusive. “Fashion and Bazaar are synonymous,” said Nasr, who unlike Bailey will oversee digital in addition to print. “It is a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with moving this legacy brand into a new era — one that is colorful, inclusive and celebrates the beauty of fashion on every platform — while carrying on the tradition of innovative art direction and great style that the Bazaar audience loves so much. The most beautiful part of working in magazines is the teamwork and creating a community. I can’t wait to get started.”
In a separate video to accompany the announcement, she further explained that as the “proud daughter” of a Lebanese father and a Trinidadian mother, her world view is expansive and “is anchored in the belief that representation matters.” “My lens by nature is colorful so it’s important to me to begin a new chapter in Bazaar’s history, shining a light on all individuals who I believe are the inspiring voices of our time.”
She also used the video to thank the protestors, community organizers and activists currently involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and said, “I hope we can join forces to amplify the message of equality because black lives matter.”
In a statement, Troy Young, the president of Hearst Magazines, added that Nasr’s “important voice will continue to evolve the brand’s distinct position as a style touchstone for fashion’s most discerning.”
As for her soon-to-be former boss, Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones, she wrote on Instagram: “She’s an avatar of chic, always ahead of the curve. I’m so happy for her and her new team. And I’m so glad at this moment in history to see this role go to a woman of color. We are a small club, but growing. Samira, thank you for being an excellent editor, adviser, travel companion, and champion of our vision for Vanity Fair.”
Nasr, who was born in Montreal, is understood to have been the frontrunner for some time, although she denied this to WWD in late April. It’s thought the process of onboarding was delayed due to fashion month and then the spread of the coronavirus, which has forced most companies to work from home.
That’s why Hearst previously named executive fashion director Nicole Fritton and digital director Joyann King “interim co-captains” overseeing the Bazaar print and digital edit teams and working directly with Kate Lewis, Hearst’s chief content officer, on all aspects of the brand.
Before that, Hearst took its time to find a successor for Bailey, casting its net far and wide and interviewing many candidates based in New York, London and Mexico.
As well as Nasr, rumors have also circulated for weeks that Nina Garcia, editor in chief of Elle, could be brought on as editorial director overseeing both Elle and Bazaar. If such a move did happen, it would make her Nasr’s boss. This is something that Garcia has in the past denied.
Hearst did something similar recently with Stellene Volandes, naming her editorial director of Elle Decor, expanding her role as editor in chief of Town & Country.
As for Bailey, who led Bazaar for almost two decades, she’s not going far. She is to work with editorial teams and fashion and beauty marketers “to develop partnerships and portfolios,” Hearst said. “In addition, Bailey will produce two special reports each year.”
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