Top stories in 2020 Harper's BAZAAR US

Thankfully 2020 is coming to an end. As we look to a brighter year and clearer skies ahead, we’re also looking back at all the covers and stories we’ve pulled off over the course of this challenging year. From Candice Swanepoel on our September 2020 cover, to our interview with Anya Taylor-Joy about the Queen’s Gambit, as well as tips on preventing mask-ne and maintaining good skin at home—we roundup Team BAZAAR’s favourite stories of 2020.

Kenneth Goh, Editor-in-Chief

1. IG Live

What started as a platform for my dear colleague and fellow editor, Natasha Kraal, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia to talk about the sudden closure of the magazine she was at the helm of for over 17years began to take a life of its own with lots of personalities and influencers globally who came on #bazaartalks to speak about how the pandemic was affecting their lives. 

Nga Nguyen, recognised as fashion’s first COVID victim, came forward to talk to me candidly about her experience from her home base in London. 

Chriselle Lim even brought her husband, Alan, to share a glass of wine (or 4!) on the show, while Kim Jones got her handsome hubby, Jericho Rosales, to speak candidly about style and fashion and what changes they wanted to bring with sustainability and their charitable causes. 

I even sneaked in a quick chat with mum as an extension of #peranakandiaries as she lives in Sydney and I wanted to share some special moments about my life growing up in Singapore and London.

2. Eleanor Lee


Our cover star, ingenue Eleanor Lee, fronted our June Youth issue. It was such a joy to meet someone so young yet with such a mature head on her shoulders. Eleanor participated actively on social media with us, doing a fun IG live with me which included a singing segment. All her fans loved it so much that we did an impromptu IG live concert with Eleanor a few months later. Fun, personable, stunning and down to earth, Eleanor was one of my favourite cover stars to work with on Bazaar.

3. Singapore Under Lockdown

One of my proudest moments in magazine publishing was when I commissioned Gan our photographer to shoot Singapore just before the circuit breaker in early April. Armed with a mask, his camera and a selection of designer carrier bags, Gan took to the streets of Singapore to capture life as we have never seen it. Placing the carrier bags in famous landmarks to everyday hawker centres, it was a blend of old and new, shiny and dull, glamorous and mundane. It truly captured something which I hope future generations of Singapore will be able to appreciate years down the road.

For the July issue, I commissioned award-winning photographer, Bryan Van Der Beek, to shoot migrant workers held inside the dormitories (Perfect Strangers: The Life And Times Of Singapore Migrant Workers). Many of them were struck down with the virus and gripped with fear and uncertainty. His pictures captured poignant moments inside the dormitories. Ex Straits Times journalist, Serene Goh, ventured into the dorms to help the workers and provide relief via food drops. Serene wrote a moving piece about the experience and how she hoped that fellow Singaporeans will roll up their sleeves to help many others in need.

Charmaine Ho, Executive Editor

1. Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mission To Save The Oceans

Dr. Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia Earle, photographed by fellow Testimonee David Doubilet.

“There are interviews that leave you star struck, and others that leave you inspired and filled with awe. And every once in a while, not every often, you get to speak with someone that leaves you feeling all of the above. This was one of them for me. Dr. Sylvia Earle is a legend in marine conservation and it was an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to chat with.”

2. Benedict Cumberbatch On Time And His Favourite Timepieces

BAZAAR Exclusive: Benedict Cumberbatch On Time And His Favourite Timepieces
Photo: Getty

“Along the same lines with regards to interviews, I mean…. it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, need I say more?”

3. Singapore Watch Brands That Should Be On Your Radar

Photo: Zelos

“This story was an eye opener for me for the pure fact that I hadn’t realised the breadth of horological brands – with such differing visions, aesthetics and, of course, price points – until i started working on this piece. And I look forward to adding on this list with more soon.”

Windy Aulia, Creative Director

1. January ’20 cover

Four Singaporean models on the cover; Layla Ong, Kaci Beh, Mei Yue, Kaigin Yong in Chanel by Gan.

“The brief was to highlight the new generation of Singaporean top models, who have made us proud by their big debut on the runways of Milan, Paris, New York and London. The logistical nightmare of their scheduling alone forced us to fly Layla Ong direct from NYC to the photo studio, which ended up as one of the most gruelling productions ever — close to 20-long-hour shoot. The level of hair and makeup sophistication that the glam team brought to the table was simply worth noting in itself.”

2. September ’20 cover

Candice Swanepoel in Off-White and Cartier by Yu Tsai.

“Amid the pandemic, the team pulled off an amazing cover shoot at downtown Manhattan with South African Victoria Secret Angels, Candice Swanepoel. Yu Tsai, the photographer, had to fly in to NYC from LA as his first flight right after California’s lockdown. The art team got so inspired by the images that they created, in my opinion, one of the most timeless cover designs that we’ve ever printed.”

3. Dec ’20 cover

Charlee Fraser in Louis Vuitton by Simon Upton.

“In one of Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore boldest moves, we wanted to create something completely new to us and took a different path outside of the typical fashion images. An ode to nature, the December cover was christened as part one, the phase where we took a journey and discover the raw power of nature. Bombo Quarry, just a few hours drive from Sydney, was the perfect location to illustrate the acts of discover, surrendering and conquering, where the model, Charlee Fraser, succumbed to the wrath of strong wind and stood tall on what could only be described as an out-of-this-world setting.”

Daphne Tso, Senior Art Director

1. 6 Singapore Artists Show Us What Is The Art Of Courage

We love the layout of this story because it’s something different — a stark contrast to the usual colours that we see in the magazine. By using black-and0white photos, the mood and tone is kept serious, as befitting the subject matter. Since there are no distracting colours, readers are able to focus on the weighty issue discussed in this story. The lack of distraction also helps readers focus on the important elements in the photos.

2. Fall/Winter 2020 Collections Report

The use of a grid layout, where a series of interesting vertical, horizontal, angular or curves lines are used to organise graphic elements on a page, keeps things visually lively and engaging.

3. How Marine Serre, Gucci, Prada , And More Are Fashioning A Sustainable Future

This is a prime example of how different elements—words, fashion photography and images of nature—come together cohesively to bring a conceptual idea to life on the page.

Jeffrey Yan, Associate Fashion Director

1. Jonathan Anderson On How Fashion Can Rise Up To Meet The Moment

Jonathan Anderson (Photo: Loewe)

“It’s always a pleasure picking Jonathan Anderson’s amazing brain and this year especially, that brain has dreamed up so much — I thought his show-in-a-box was hands-down the cleverest, most elegant solution to fashion’s pandemic restrictions.”

2. Here’s What Troye Sivan Is Up To During The Pandemic

Troye Sivan (Photo: Cartier)

“This interview with Troye Sivan was another highlight but for purely personal, fanboy reasons.”

3. How Fashion Is Adapting And Responding To A New World Order

The traditional Chinese qipao design updated with a modern sensibility by Lai Chan. Photo: Laichan

“When we talk about the effects of the pandemic on the fashion industry, we tend to think in broad, global terms. I found it so insightful to talk to designers closer to home about how they’ve been impacted and the ways they are adapting to and growing from this.”

Gracia Phang, Associate Style Editor

1. Anya Taylor-Joy Opens Up About The Queen’s Gambit And More

Photo: Netflix

“It was a joy speaking with Anya Taylor-Joy about The Queen’s Gambit that unexpectedly blew up. Humble, personable and insightful—she showed that she’s just like any of us (well… kinda).”

2. Elevate Your Officewear With These Tailored Shoulders

The Tailored Shorts
Cotton shorts, Chloé. Cotton-viscose blazer; cotton sweater, PINKO. Belt, Hermès. Crystal rings, Swarovski. Photo: Wee Khim

“In or out of the office, tailored pieces instantly make you look put-together! Yes, even on a Zoom call.”

3. The Crown Season 4: Josh O’Connor And Emma Corrin Spill The Beans

“As a fan of the royal family and The Crown, speaking to Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor was surreal. While we all assume we know what went on between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the actors reminded us that there was love at different points.”

Arissa Ha, Senior Beauty Editor

1. Celebrity Facialist Joanna Czech Shares Her Secrets For Beautiful Skin

Celebrity Facialist Joanna Czech Shares Her Secrets For Beautiful Skin - Featured

“Facialist to stars like Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Jennifer AnistonJoanna Czech shared so many tips about maintaining good skin at home, and how to prevent mask-ne.”

2. The Pandemic Has Spawned These Unexpected Beauty Trends

The Pandemic Has Spawned These Unexpected Beauty Trends-Feature Image

“We usually know where beauty trends will take us each year but the pandemic has thrown a curveball at all of us. Due to mask-wearing, you get specific skin conditions that crop up, or other parts of the face suddenly get highlighted more, so these beauty trends are in response to that.”

3. Elizabeth Hurley Shares Her Hopes For A Breast-Cancer Free World

hbsg-Elizabeth Hurley Shares Her Hopes For A Breast-Cancer Free World - Featured

Elizabeth Hurley is one of the biggest advocates of breast cancer awareness and it was a privilege to be able to interview her and have her speak about a movement that she’s passionate about. She’s been campaigning since the 1990s and such a joy to speak to.”