Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)

Fabien Baron: The BAZAAR Years

This fall, Fabien Baron: Works 1983–2019 019 offers the first career retrospect­ive of the legendary y Art Director. We look back at his time spent redefining BAZAAR AAR in the 1990s. By Alison S. Cohn

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By the early 1990s, Fabien abien Baron had all but given up on magazines.After .After cutting his teeth at

Vogue Italia and Interview, w, the French Art Director didn’t believe true originalit­y ginality existed in print. Through his agency, Baron aron & Baron, he became the branding wizard behind practicall­y every brilliant campaign, from m the grunge-inflected

Calvin Klein Obsession n ads starring a fresh face named Kate Moss, to the e glossy heights of Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Giò iò spots featuring Diane Kruger in St Barts.“An n interviewe­r asked me,‘Is there another magazine out there that you would really love to do?’”he recalls.“I calls.“I said,‘Well, definitely not Vogue US—it’s too commercial.The only one that could d be worth doing is Harper’s BAZAAR.’” ” Three days later, Baron got a call from BAZAAR’s then brand-new British Editor-in-Chief, , Elizabeth Tilberis.“The timing was uncanny,” he says.“You have to remember this was pre-Internet, , so it’s not like anyone had seen my interview yet.”Tilberis summoned Baron for a lunch meeting g uptown and the two immediatel­y hit it off.“We talked about my kids, we talked about her kids,” ” Baron says.“We talked about England, we talked about France, we talked about the countrysid­e. . We talked about everything but the magazine, and then at one point, she says,‘And BAZAAR?’ ’ I replied,‘If you’re interested in doing the best magazine in the world, I’m interested.’ And that was it—I was hired.”

Over the next seven years, until Tilberis’s untimely passing in 1999, she and Baron worked to, as he explains it, “awaken the sleeping beauty”.They ushered in a new era of elegance that harkened back to BAZAAR’s mid-century glory days under Carmel Snow and Alexey Brodovitch. Their strategy was “photograph­ers, photograph­ers, photograph­ers, , photograph­ers, photograph­ers,” Baron says.“That’s all.” Peter Lindbergh, Mario Sorrenti, Inez van Lamsweerde andVinoodh Matadin, Mario Testino, Steven Klein and Raymond Meier all came on board. But of course, it wasn’t just about the photograph­ers: Baron also experiment­ed with a radically modern new approach to typography.“I turned the type into an image as well,” he says, , describing what became his signature type treatment, with airy text pages facing fashion, such as the round, energetic letters “g” and “o” playing off Kate Moss’s chunky jewellery, or a supersize “a” mirroring a pregnant belly. Besides scale and proportion, Baron played with colour, creating g vibrant multi-hued typography.“I tried to build a magazine like a movie,” he says.“An action ‘scene’ should be followed by something more quiet, and there’s always strong dialogue.” ■ Fabien Baron:Works 1983-2019 by Fabien Baron and Adam Gopnik, about $263, is available at t uk.phaidon.com

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Fabien Baron
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 ??  ?? Clockwise from top: Kate Moss, photograph­ed by David Sims, September 1997. Patrick Demarcheli­er, March 1999. Raymond Meier, March 1998. Craig McDean, January 1996. Linda Evangelist­a, photograph­ed by Peter Lindbergh, October 1993. Meier, March 1994. Sims, July 1997 OPPOSITE: Fabien Baron’s first cover for featuring Linda Evangelist­a, photograph­ed by Demarcheli­er for the September 1992 issue BAZAAR,
Clockwise from top: Kate Moss, photograph­ed by David Sims, September 1997. Patrick Demarcheli­er, March 1999. Raymond Meier, March 1998. Craig McDean, January 1996. Linda Evangelist­a, photograph­ed by Peter Lindbergh, October 1993. Meier, March 1994. Sims, July 1997 OPPOSITE: Fabien Baron’s first cover for featuring Linda Evangelist­a, photograph­ed by Demarcheli­er for the September 1992 issue BAZAAR,
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