Glenda Bailey’s name is synonymous with fashion greatness. Her imagination is untamed and her fashion expertise is unmatched. No, she is not a fashion designer, a model, or a pop-culture celebrity. Glenda Bailey is the brilliant Editor-In-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, who has brought fashion to life through the captivating pages of the magazine.
Since her appointment in 2001, Bailey has resurrected Harper’s Bazaar to a vibrant life with striking images that merge fashion fantasy with celebrity pop culture. She’s worked with anyone and everyone in the world of high fashion and entertainment.
Her new book, Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits, celebrates the past 10 years of her imaginative vision as Harper Bazaar’s Editor-in-Chief. The hard-cover, coffee-table-style book showcases over 300 iconic images that range from whimsical to unexpected to sweet to controversial. These fantastical images merge celebrity pop culture, politics, and world-affairs with fashion, from the image of Giselle Bundchen’s glamorous entrance into the foyer, to the fierce image of Naomi Campbell racing a cheetah in the wild, to Tyra Banks posing as First Lady. Harper’s Bazaar: Greatest Hits launched in September, 2011 and has been running like wildfire ever since.
On November 22, 2011, Bailey attended her book signing and greeted guests at the Coach store on San Francisco’s Post Street. The invite-only event was hosted by Tatiana Sorokko, Harper’s Bazaar contributing editor, Denise Hale and Ann Getty. Guests enjoyed cocktails, appetizers, Coach’s latest fall/winter line of accessories, and most of all, Bailey’s delightful personality. Guests patiently awaited their book signing as Bailey took her time to pleasantly greet each guest with a smile, offering thoughtful commentary to compliment each signature.
When asked about how her magical inspiration is born, Bailey replied, “My inspiration always starts with the designers, but I am also excited by what is going on in popular culture and by what is going on in the world. Whether it is a film, a new book, or a movie, it is my job to be able to interpret that into a fashion magazine.”
Bailey’s insight clearly carries over into the readers’ experience. She is fully aware that readers have a buffet of choices when it comes to their source of fashion; online newsletters, blogs, and newspapers are just a few. This drives Bailey to solidify her connection with her readers. “The importance of our fashion magazine is to create something that no one has ever seen before. It’s got to be original, innovative, and exciting. I am also a great believer on a sense of fun.” She continues, “I am a great believer in the bigger picture of fashion. We’re constantly pushing ourselves; we’re focused on how to be better.”
Bailey has also cultivated an acute sense of how world affairs influence fashion, with her fingertip of the pulse of current-day events. “Fashion is a reflection of what’s going on in the world.” She sites a fitting example of how economic circumstances affect fashion. “In tough economic times, women try to emulate men. You’ll see women return to wearing pants suits, shoulder pads coming back.”
With her tremendous vision, worldly foresight, and insight into the world of high-fashion, you might be wondering about Bailey’s best fashion advice for the everyday woman. Her simple answer: “Smile!”
Photographer: Drew Altizer