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They said she'd never last—from the beginning of her tenure at Harper's Bazaar, Brit-import Glenda Bailey's reign has been tainted by naysayers and perennial rumors of her imminent departure. Well, Bailey's proved them all wrong, and this year celebrates her 10th anniversary as the Editor-in-Chief of Bazaar, still one of the most powerful fashion magazines in the United States.
Today's WWD features a lengthy profile of the editor—it's (yay) public and not password-protected, so check out the story in-full here—that pegs her successes at the magazine on her ambition, her down-to-earth un-diva-like behavior, and her sense of whimsy and humor.
People were only too willing—indeed, eager—to sing her praises—from Demi Moore to François-Henri Pinault of PPR, Alber Elbaz to Diego Della Valle. Most of the comments focused on Bailey’s no-nonsense honesty and almost everyone talked about her via telephone, not e-mail. No assistants, no go-betweens—all the calls came straight to this reporter’s cell or office phone.
As for her ambition—coupled with an almost legendary temper?
Stephen Gan, creative director, added, “She’s very deliberate and always knows what she wants.”And what about all those rumors—the ones that seem to surface every year—that Bailey's about to be ousted from her roost at Bazaar? “Any editor at the top of their game has to deal with that,” Bailey told WWD. “It would be naïve to believe everything you read about yourself in print. I just laugh it off.”
Another former Bazaar editor put it more bluntly: “You’re either doing it right or wrong when it comes to Glenda. There is no in between. She’s black and white. She’s an extreme perfectionist and if something didn’t work out, she would read every e-mail off my computer to see what went wrong. She would follow up herself.”
Some allude to behavior that can border on the obsessive, a controlling personality and sometimes a very hot temper. However, the top of Bazaar’s masthead has been extremely stable during her tenure. One thing they all know: she’s very hands-on. Bailey will call photographers, writers and actors on behalf of the title. She phoned Moore to discuss a cover idea. She wanted the actress to pose on a floating staircase next to a giraffe. It’s a stunt that probably wouldn’t be featured in any other fashion magazine. Bailey maintains that it shows her sense of whimsy when it comes to clothes. “When she called me and told me, I wasn’t sure at first,” Moore recalled. “But she was really into it and convinced me.”
· Glenda Bailey Marks 10 Years at Harper’s Bazaar [WWD]