It’s been 10 years since editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey took the reins at Harper’s Bazaar, and the magazine is celebrating the milestone with a splashy coffee table book. “Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits” (Abrams) illustrates Bailey and creative director Stephen Gan’s tenure through more than 300 colorful images, organized chronologically. The mag's memorable moments also include essays from luminaries like Patti Smith and our own Arianna Huffington, who wrote about the politics of fashion prior to the 2008 presidential election.
“Glenda wants the magazine to vibrate with energy,” says Features/Special Projects Director Laura Brown. That spirit is particularly evident in Jean-Paul Goude’s photograph of Naomi Campbell racing a cheetah in the 2009 feature, “Wild Things.” Another dynamic image from that year sees Sarah Jessica Parker sprinting across the Brooklyn Bridge in Chanel.
Many of the tome’s highlights play on pop-cultural references. For example, Chloe Sevigny channels a fallen starlet in 2007’s “They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab.” Even the Simpsons starred in a spread the same year, in which the cartoon clan goes to Paris and sits front row at Louis Vuitton. Another brazen 2007 feature pictures Courtney Love as a reclining nude, with the headline “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fake Chanel.” Consequently, Love made peace with Karl Lagerfeld, whose scorn she drew after appearing publicly in a knockoff Chanel frock.
“I think if you ignore what’s happening in popular culture, you become a dinosaur,” says Brown. “Popular culture and fashion really feed each other, and while we’re a fashion magazine primarily, it’s important to have a little bit of wit and cheek in there which makes people smile."
In a clever 2010 feature, Rachel Zoe’s catchphrase “I Die” inspires a series of tableaux depicting the attempts of various designers to murder the celebrity stylist.
“Fashion can be fun; fashion can be glorious,” says Brown. “It is involving; it is inspiring. Your heart should skip a beat sometimes,” she continues. “And you should feel like you’re invited, and that you gained something from it. That’s the whole point of magazines.”
"Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits” will be available September 1. Thirty images from the book will be on view in a corresponding exhibit at New York’s International Center of Photography, starting September 9. Click here for more images.