FIPP asks the editor: Cécile Narinx, Harper’s BAZAAR Netherlands

Tell us about your role as editor-in-chief of Harper’s BAZAAR Netherlands, and what it entails.

Nowadays an editor-in-chief doesn’t only have to be a good magazine maker and a creative thinker, which is, in my opinion, still the core of my job and the part I love most. Creating pages together with a trusted, talented and inspiring team is as good as it gets in life. A modern editor-in-chief oversees a brand. In my case, that includes running a website and social media presence, staging events, developing apps, doing publicity, in addition to leading a team that produces the magazine each month. It means I’m wearing a lot of different hats at the same time. I’m involved with everything from attending fashion shows, planning issue themes and doing online video interviews to working with our sales team on projects for advertisers, monitoring the budget and tweeting and instagramming around the clock.

Harper's Bazaar Netherlands ()

The magazine launched in September 2014. What has the response been so far? Do you have any data/statistics to support this?

The response to our launch has been overwhelming! BAZAAR was featured prominently in the press and I was interviewed extensively in newspapers, magazines, and on radio and TV shows. Due to enormous demand, another 30,000 copies of the first issue of the Dutch edition of Harper’s BAZAAR had to be printed – only a week after its launch. This was a tremendous achievement because the original distribution of 120,000 copies was ambitious to start with. This brought the overall copies circulated to 150,000. On the advertising side, the response was equally euphoric. I had to expand the launch issue by 30 pages.

You were previously editor-in-chief of ELLE Netherlands. How does this audience differ from that of Harper’s BAZAAR, and how has your role changed to reflect that?

The audience of ELLE is younger, more urban and edgy, and focused on trends. With BAZAAR our readers have found their personal style and will not change it every season. What they desire is clever content that saves them precious time, so we present them the best of the timeless pieces, with items that will update their wardrobes without completely changing their look. We also offer readers ShopBAZAAR, which allows readers to shop straight from the magazine online. On top of that, we deliver culture, with interviews with art influencers, musicians, and stories that cover literature, photography, design and business and the interesting people who are innovating in those fields.

The BAZAAR reader is also passionate about beauty and willing to invest in splurge-worthy skincare, so we provide practical information with the pros and cons of using products and the effectiveness of ingredients.

How did the launch of Harper’s BAZAAR fill a gap in the market?

BAZAAR is uniquely positioned in the market as a sophisticated, iconic, ageless fashion magazine combining style and beauty with intelligent journalism.

In your opinion, what is the best way to connect with your readers? What type of content to they respond to best?

The best way to connect with readers is still through the pages of the magazine. I still get a lot of emails in response to my editor’s note, or to thank my team and me for a great issue. Secondly, I think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to connect.

How closely do you work with editors of the other international editions of Harper’s BAZAAR? Even though the audiences are different country-to-country, how are they also similar?

I meet my fellow editors during fashion weeks and conferences, and throughout the year we keep in touch via email. I text and email my colleague from Spain, Eugenia de la Torriente, for she is, like me, a veteran in the fashion world but a rookie in the world of BAZAAR, which connects us even more. Of course there are differences between the editions, but thanks to the strong heritage and the iconic value of the brand, and because the typography, layout and use of white space and colour is universal, every edition of BAZAAR is a true BAZAAR.

Harper’s BAZAAR’s global fashion director Carine Roitfeld produces regular editorials for BAZAAR editions worldwide. Have you integrated these into the Dutch edition, and if so, how has your audience responded?

Carine Roitfeld’s portfolios are featured in our edition and appreciated by readers. Dutch model Lara Stone was one of the icons selected by Carine Roitfeld, and she appeared on a limited-edition cover in September. 

What is the future for Harper’s BAZAAR Netherlands?

My goals include making the name Harper’s BAZAAR known to everybody in Holland and Flanders, organising our first Women of the Year Awards this year, stimulating our web traffic, increasing our art coverage, and expanding the service of ShopBAZAAR to include beauty, travel and performances.

Why do you think fashion digital-print launches like Porter and The Window are happening? Do you see potential for more online fashion brands to launch in print?

I think these digital print launches are proof that print is vibrant and vital. It illustrates that print magazines ooze more authority and reliability than websites. On top of that it gives the consumer a feeling of luxury and leisure – the opportunity to lay back with a magazine instead of sitting behind the laptop that she also uses for work. It perfectly aligns with the movement of re-appreciating arts and crafts and realness, and celebrating tactile sensations like home-baked bread and the return of the vinyl record.

In Japan, fashion ecommerce sites linked to magazine brands (e.g. ELLE Shop) are thriving. What are your thoughts on this? Is this something being replicated in the Netherlands?

ShopBAZAAR has proven that this model can be successfully implemented. As editors and curators, we have a trained eye for selecting and showcasing the best fashion for our readers.

Harper’s BAZAAR Netherlands launched in March 2014.

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