What is Harper's Bazaar?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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Harper's Bazaar is an iconic American fashion magazine which is published in 18 countries in addition to the United States. The magazine has become famous for featuring cutting edge fashion, design, and photography, making it a must-have for “the well-dressed woman and the well-dressed mind.” Many magazine stands stock Harper's Bazaar, and subscriptions to the monthly publication are also available from a number of sources.

In addition to being an icon in the American fashion industry, Harper's Bazaar also bears the distinction of being the oldest American fashion magazine. It was founded in 1867 by Harper and Brothers, the same force behind Harper's Magazine and HarperCollins Publishing Group. Initially, Harper's Bazar, as it was then known, was a weekly publication; in 1901, the publishers switched to a monthly format.

Work from famous photographs, writers, designers, and artists has been featured in Harper's Bazaar since its inception, and the magazine prides itself on providing a variety of resources to its readers. Readers can see reports on the latest runway shows, covering everything from couture gowns to jewelry, and Harper's Bazaar also has financial advice, profiles with highly successful and stylish women, travel features, home décor suggestions, beauty tips, and health and fitness sections. Harper's Bazaar also doesn't shy away from age; in the words of editor Glenda Bailey, “we celebrate women from 18 to 80—and beyond.”


Like other fashion magazines in the United States, Harper's Bazaar has experienced some shifts as women's attitudes about fashion and beauty have changed, but it has managed to weather these changes well. The magazine has also not shied away from potentially controversial topics, with cover features like a nude and pregnant Britney Spears in 2006, and frank discussions of dangerously waif-like supermodels. Harper's Bazaar has certainly remained an arbiter of style and of the fashion industry; a cover feature,for example, is a great way to jumpstart or revive a career, as many celebrities have noted.

The United Kingdom sister magazine, Harper's Bazaar UK, is also a fashion icon in its own right. Harper's Bazaar UK was initially founded in 1929 by the Hearst Company, owners of Harper's Bazaar. In 1970, Harper's Bazaar UK merged with Queen, founded in 1862, transforming the two into Harpers and Queen. In 2005, the Hearst Company rebranded Harper's and Queen, titling it Harper's Bazaar UK and using a new editorial team to relaunch the magazine.


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Post 2

I would not immediately think of fashion magazines for in-ordinary, even radical articles. But Harper's Bazaar is really unique in that sense. They are not afraid of saying things that many other magazines and newspapers would be reluctant to say. They don't mind speaking their mind and criticizing when it's due.

Some people think that Harper's Bazaar can be a bit contradictory. Because it has before criticized celebrities like Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton and then featured them on the cover. I don't see a problem with that, the magazine has to sell after all. I just know that I enjoy reading what they have to say!

Post 1

The owner and publisher of Harper's Bazaar also publishes Elle, Seventeen and Marie Claire. I think they publish Oprah's Magazine as well. Hearst magazines are said to be one of the biggest global publishers of magazines. They also publish international editions of their top magazines, so even though the corporation is situated in the U.S. and U.K., you can get their magazines in many countries. For example, Elle magazine can pretty much be found in all of Western, Eastern Europe and Asia as well.

I think that the success of Harper's Bazaar is also due to the success of Hearst Corporation and the importance they've given to magazines in general. They're doing a lot of other media and entertainment work now, but their magazines are still one of their top priorities. I don't think that Harper's Bazaar could have become an icon fashion magazine without Hearst corporation's belief and investment in it.

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