,” a sop to Diana Vreeland, the legendary fashion editor at Bazaar during the Fifties and early Sixties.
As for new touches, Bailey’s biggest contribution to the magazine was turning the front of the book into a kind of shopping catalog for well-to-do — if not entirely capable of making her own decisions — fashion lovers. She also brought over the kinds of numbered covers (“619 Fashion and Beauty Buys”), she made a staple at Marie Claire. If there’s any real difference between that aspect of the magazine and Marie Claire, it’s in Stephen Gan’s sharp art direction and the products shown on the pages, which Bailey points out are the “most luxurious ones on the market.”
In terms of the photographers, she retained many of the ones under contract during the Liz Tilberis and Kate Betts days, but also brought back Hiro and introduced Terry Richardson to the pages. As before, Patrick Demarchelier generally shoots the cover (the next of which features Christy Turlington).
Other positive changes remain elusive. Bailey has born the brunt of a terrible advertising market — as well as the fashion world’s ongoing perception of her as too middle-brow for the likes of Bazaar. Through May, total ad pages are down 23.35 percent, according to MIN, lower than any of the other major fashion titles besides Elle. So far, her Bazaar is actually trailing Betts’ numbers — but with none of the drama that surrounded her beleaguered predecessor.
She also inherited a features department that is rail thin when compared to Vogue’s triumvirate of Jonathan Van Meter, Julia Reed, and Sally Singer, and though writers like Carrie Fisher, Paul Theroux, and Jay McInerney have all written for the magazine, their articles have been terse to the point of being forgettable.
Still, there’s one place Bailey has an edge, and it’s on the newsstand. From her work in Europe to the runaway success of Marie Claire in America, she knows what to do with a cover to make a magazine sell.
“That’s why you get so many British editors,” she says matter-of-factly. “They’re trained to sell on newsstand.”
Bailey says her issues of Bazaar have consistently outsold last year’s by more than 20 percent. As for ad pages, May’s issue carried 97.65 pages of ads, down 10.3 percent from last year and a possible indication that confidence is returning among advertisers. If that’s the case, then the myopic fashion world’s opinion of her will have little impact on her job status.