Putting Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover of a fashion magazine is hardly a groundbreaking move. But featuring the back of her head, as Harper’s Bazaar does on the subscribers’ cover of their March issue — well, that’s certainly something new. “It’s a very daring thing to do, where you don’t immediately see her face,” Glenda Bailey told WWD. The cover is part of magazine’s big new redesign, which also includes new fonts (Didot Caps, Didot Italics, and Gotham, should you be interested), a larger overall size (by one inch), new section names (they now mostly begin with the, as in “The List”), and thicker paper. WWD likens the changes to major plastic surgery: “It’s like the party guest who you recognize when she enters the room, but you know she’s had work done — a lot of work.”
There’s also some changes in the magazine’s content, including more beauty coverage (ten pages instead of four in every issue), a new travel section (“The Escape”), a monthly “Best-Dressed” column by Derek Blasberg (previously just an online feature), and less focus on celebrities. Other things to look forward to in the March issue: an article about Sarah Palin by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, and 24 hours in the life of Tom Ford (Spoiler: He gets up at 4:30 a.m., takes two baths, and eats two doughnuts).
The redesign is being hailed as the first official issue under former Elle publisher Carol Smith, even though she joined the magazine last May. Ads for March are up 16 percent to 271 pages, which means the magazine still lags behind Vogue, Elle, and InStyle.