Harper's Bazaar has a new editor in chief: Katherine Betts, formerly of Vogue magazine.
Hearst Magazines announced Betts's appointment to the top job at Bazaar yesterday, about two months after the fashion magazine's former editor, Liz Tilberis, died from ovarian cancer. She was 51.
While Bazaar's circulation of 730,000 lags behind Vogue's 1.1 million readers, the editor's position at the Hearst publication is a plum one and speculation on who would be Tilberis's successor began immediately after her death in April. Hearst began talks with Betts in early June, moving quickly to find someone to take the helm of the magazine.
"Obviously it's a dream job for me," Betts says, "and something I couldn't turn down, although the timing isn't great." Betts, 35, is expecting her first child any day.
Betts's first day at Bazaar will be Sept. 1 and her debut issue will be the December book. Until then, she will be available as a consultant.
Her goal for the magazine is to put fashion into a wider context. It won't just be about hemlines, Betts says.
"I don't want to give too much away, but I want to broaden the reach of the magazine and emphasize fashion in all of its forms, including off the runway," Betts says. The magazine will focus on fashion's role in Hollywood, in music and in other parts of the culture.
"I want to make the magazine more energetic and use writers with very specific voices," she says. "I want to make it more journalistic."
In an industry bloated with sycophantic writers, Betts has a reputation for having a smart, wry take on fashion.
Her move to Bazaar comes after eight years at Conde Nast's Vogue, most recently as the fashion news director, where she was responsible for the magazine's runway reports, fashion features and Vogue's Index--notes and shopping tips packaged as a consumer resource. Prior to her work at Vogue, Betts spent several years at the Paris bureau of Women's Wear Daily. She is a graduate of Princeton University and is married to writer Chip Brown.
Leaving Vogue, Betts said, will be hard. "I really loved working with" Editor in Chief Anna Wintour, she said. "She was a great mentor to me, so it's like leaving family. But everyone has to move on."
CAPTION: Incoming editor Katherine Betts