What Was Glenda Bailey Thinking?

Since magazine covers are supposed to mirror and capture the essence of the season, I cannot help but think that Harper’s Bazaar made a big mistake with their September cover. Is that really the best they could have done with the biggest, most important cover of the year?

The picture of Madonna, which looks as if it were simply ‘picked’ from her ubiquitous Gap 2003 ad shooting, comes off as flat, uninspiring, and, well, pedestrian- and better suited for Seventeen or Teen Vogue. In a season where the entire fashion world is talking about rich, luxurious pieces, a certain youthful return to couture elegance, and a love affair with chic, I must say that I hardly think a newsboy cap, white undershirt, or faded blue cords reflect that.

And they have the nerve to use the coverlines under the picture ‘Madonna’s New Look’. New? It’s hardly new. Young urban women have been wearing this uniform for quite some time. In fact, Bill Cunningham just ran a pictorial last Sunday that was all about the news boy caps, and he even alluded to the Madonna Gap ad and the Harper’s Bazaar cover in his column…Many of the women he photographed look just like (or very similar to Madonna). Well, without the expensive diamond jewels and pricey Lana Marks alligator belt of course.

Covers are supposed to inspire, and make you dream a bit….this cover hardly does that at all. Compared to Vogue’s knockout shot of gorgeous Nicole Kidman, or W’s Kate Moss- a real fashion icon- Bazaar really looks like they are bottom feeding….I have a feeling Stephen Gan is not very happy about this choice, and I’m sure he didn’t have very much to do with this one, knowing his taste level and desire for exclusivity.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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