BAILEY’S NEW BAZAAR
Byline: Lisa Lockwood
NEW YORK — Glenda Bailey has jumped the gun.
Although her official debut at Harper’s Bazaar isn’t scheduled until February, the new editor in chief commandeered a complete redesign for the November issue, which hits newsstands next week.
Bailey assumed the post in June and immediately began commissioning stories for November (while continuing to oversee Marie Claire, her previous stomping ground). But it wasn’t until August when she named her creative director, Stephen Gan, and the new team tore into November.
“Stephen and I had 10 days to produce the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar. We worked weekends and nights, and we knew exactly what we wanted to do. We’re fast, and there was no point waiting,” said Bailey, in an exclusive interview with WWD.
The most obvious change is the return to an earlier Harper’s Bazaar logo, developed by Alexey Brodovitch and then redone by Fabien Baron (in Didot typeface), which had been tossed by Bailey’s predecessor, Kate Betts. Bailey also played with cover graphics, and now horizontal teasers span the entire front. While she was known for using big, bold numbers on the face of Marie Claire, in one of Bazaar’s new coverlines — “440 New looks for all,” — the number is more subdued.
Patrick Demarchelier shot Gwyneth Paltrow for the cover and inside story, where she posed nude.
November marks the first issue where Bailey’s name appears on the masthead. But in an unusual move, the masthead has moved to the back of the book (page 290).
Fashion, Bailey believes, comes first.
“What I always find astounding [in fashion magazines] is there’s so little fashion. What is great is to open a magazine and the first pages are merchandise pages that you can shop from,” she said.
The commercial, service-oriented pages at the front of the book, reminiscent of the mainstream catalog concept popularized by In Style and Marie Claire, carry such headlines as “Best Shoes,” “Best Bags” “Best Jewelry,” “Editor’s Choice,” and “What to Buy Now.”
“The Bazaar reader is very style conscious and time conscious. She is fashion aware, and we talk about trends and show how they work. The reader wants more fashion information. I always believe fashion magazines should give suggestions and ideas,” said Bailey.
Bailey said she’s also excited by the mix of photographers she and Gan brought to Bazaar.
“One thing I feel really proud of is we wanted to get the real classics back into Bazaar,” she said. Photographers who have previously appeared in Bazaar’s pages, like Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin; Terry Richardson, Hiro and Nathaniel Goldberg, have returned. She also brought in some new photographers, including Dan Forbes and Greg Kadel. The issue carries an excerpt from Richard Avedon’s new book, “Richard Avedon: Made in France,” highlighting archival photographs.
Fashion shoots were styled by Brana Wolf, Melanie Ward and Mary Alice Stephenson, the magazine’s fashion director. The beauty and accessories pages are bold and full of color.
Bailey, who masterminded the idea of getting celebrities to participate in their stories in her previous role at Marie Claire, brings that concept to Bazaar. She asked David Bowie to do a Q&A with artist Tracey Emin; assigned Joan Collins to pen a first-person piece on shopping, and recruited Spike Lee to direct a Marc Baptiste fashion shoot at Coney Island. Paltrow sat for an interview with her former Spence classmate, Caroline Doyle Karasyov, and Kristina Zimbalist spent a day in East Hampton with Donna Karan and reported on “a day in the life of the designer.” There’s also a feature about Frida Kahlo.
Its art section, entitled “Why Don’t You+” pays homage to Bazaar’s most famous fashion editor, Diana Vreeland and highlights books, movies, TV, theater and exhibitions.
Business-wise, the November Bazaar carries 155 pages of advertising, down from 158 a year ago. Publisher Cynthia Lewis said the issue carries 44 pages of new advertisers. She said she’s excited to show advertisers the new issue, but predicted, “December is going to be difficult.”
Meantime, Bailey said she still plans a formal February debut, and acknowledged the magazine is a work in progress. “It’s an evolution. Obviously, when you work with a team for 10 days, you’re learning about the work process,” she said.
When she looks at the November issue, she says there are few things she would have done differently. “The February and March issues will really show all we can achieve.”