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A Quick Conversation With Harper's Bazaar's Glenda Bailey

Posted: 02/19/2011 7:50 pm

I was able to get in a quick chat with Harper's Bazaar Editor-in-Chief Glenda Bailey after last Thursday's Ralph Lauren show. Here, she tells me about why she doesn't wear jeans, whether the media is a little too fascinated with Kate Middleton and her thoughts on Emmanuelle Alt's new gig at French Vogue.

HM: First things first, what did you think of the show?
GB: I always say that Ralph so understands the moment. And everybody's thinking of China, everybody's thinking about that Art Deco and people looking very glamorous, despite a recession, this idea of lovely simple lines between very rich fabrics. I really thought it captured a real mood of now. And you saw in our March issue, we open up and we do a piece on a girl in Chinatown and we use a Saint Laurent panda dress and it had very much that spirit. China is something that we all have to be so aware of as China grows -- particularly in the luxury industry. It has become such an influential market. And so much of the luxury industry growth is there. And so as all minds look to China for inspiration, why not what we see on the runway?

HM: I'm sure you've heard about Ralph's higher-priced denim line.

GB: I think that's great, because everybody loves denim, everybody wants a great pair of jeans. Everybody want something very easy and casual to wear, but at the same time you still want quality.

HM: Do you think $2,000 jeans are a little extravagant? Are they something that you would wear?
GB: Well, I don't actually wear jeans. [Laughter.] I've never worn jeans. It's not my personal aesthetic. I haven't got the body for them. But I think that if you can afford them, why not buy the very best and you can rely on Ralph to produce that.

HM: With all of these shows are being livestreamed and the ability to see photos on the internet right after, do you think that fashion week is becoming passé?
GB: Well you had the benefit of seeing this beautiful show. I'm sure you've been to many shows during fashion week. So you know this -- it's an incredible difference, it's enormous...to be able to see a collection from all angles with the models moving, being able to see the fabrics, the textures and it helps you understand the spirit of the designer. Now, can you see those individual looks on the internet? Yes and great. Anything that gets everybody more interested in fashion, I'm so pro and so for. But it's a different experience and it is, from a journalist's perspective, so much easier to be able to see things in reality. After all, Alber Elbaz says "If it's edible it's going to be food. If it's fashion it's meant to be worn." And fashion is meant to be worn and meant to move and you need to be able to see it in reality and as it moves[....]It's very difficult to get that spirit on the internet yet. But it will come and that is a very exciting prospect. For sure, we'll be in a situation in which we can see 3-D or we'll be able to feel that fabric more clearly and that's something to look forward to.

HM: Is there anything about fashion week that you would change? Maybe too many celebrities in the front row?
GB: What you have to remember is that a lot of designers rely on the publicity that they get from producing a show, that excitement. Fashion is entertainment. We are in the entertainment industry and fashion doesn't exist in a vacuum. So of course something that happens in world events directly influences what we see on the runway so if you think along those lines then these shows generate their own excitement. If a celebrity comes wearing a designer's clothes of course that's of interest. And we all want to see what outfit they've chosen and what they look like.

HM: Another topic you're qualified to talk about is Kate Middleton -- I'm wondering if there's a Harper's Bazaar cover in the works or anything you can say on that.

GB: I'm really looking forward to the royal wedding like everyone else. I think Kate Middleton has a lot of style and we'll obviously be following her very closely as every time she wears an outfit, it's really interesting because she's got great taste and style and we want to see what she'll wear next.

HM: Do you have any guesses on what she'll wear on her big day?
GB: I have my own thoughts. But that's what it is. Just my own thoughts. I think it's not just what Kate's wearing, it's what everybody's wearing and I personally feel great excitement because my nephew's wedding is the day after, so I completely understand how excited everyone is.

HM: Do you think the media's fascination with Kate is overblown?
GB: No. She's a great representative of British fashion -- she looks so beautiful, she's got great style, she really understands what looks good on her and it's like seeing any beautiful girl. Of course we're always interested in anybody with great style. I love the fact that she's mindful of price points. That proves something I really believe in -- you can look great at every price point. You just have to choose wisely.

HM: Lastly -- what do you think about Emmanuelle Alt taking the helm at French Vogue?
GB: I think she's really talented and I'm very excited to see what she does as an editor-in-chief. I love her styling and her sense of humor. She's enjoys the fun of fashion and that's something I relish and it will be great to see her French Vogue. I'm very much looking forward to it.

For more from Harper's Bazaar, check out the glossy's Fashion Week coverage or its Best Looks from Fashion Week.

 

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