Celebrating 20 years of style, design, art, beauty, lifestyle and, of course, fashion, 2021 marks a significant milestone for Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore. Not only are we out of our teenage years, but we have grown, matured and pivoted substantially over two decades. So much has changed in the world of publishing, but we’ve stayed true to our core, which is a high-fashion glossy for the well-dressed woman with a well-dressed mind.
Ahead, we look back at some of the memorable moments over the last two decades.
From its very beginning, BAZAAR has been a champion of Asian talent—not only in shooting the region’s biggest names in fashion but also spotlighting new names and rising stars in the art world. Art is a hallmark of BAZAAR and it continues to play a fundamental role in its heritage—from the stirring BAZAAR Art issue that paid tribute to the late Lee Kuan Yew on Singapore’s 50th birthday, to the meeting of technology and tradition as digital artists pay homage to the works of Old Masters, our pages are the platform where art’s most visionary and creative talents are seen and heard.
A portrait of the late Mr Lee, rendered in a Pop Art style, by artist Laudi Abilama (BAZAAR Art August 2015)
We are all about the big, bold and beautiful, and nowhere does that (literally) shine through more than in our curation of the most fantastical and covetable of haute horlogerie and high jewellery. Whether you want to be dripping in diamonds or chasing the gold rush, BAZAAR indulges the most decadent dreams.
From left: Shanina Shaik in Bvlgari high jewellery (January 2021); Hailey Clauson modelling Tiffany & Co. earrings (October 2018)
You can’t talk fashion without a special mention of the industry’s apex: Haute couture. Each year, we make the pilgrimage to Paris to take in the most extravagant that fashion has to offer, which we then memorialise in some of our most stunning editorials. The shoots are often as dramatic as the clothes, with military-precision planning required to ferry them to and fro between the ateliers where they are being fitted on clients and the studios and locations all over Paris.
From left: Maison Margiela Artisanal (December 2013); Chinese supermodel Liu Wen in Dior Couture (June 2012); and Chanel Haute Couture (December 2017)
Long before diversity became the buzzword it is today, BAZAAR was already paying tribute to all the different forms and the many shapes and sizes that beauty comes in. One of Winnie Harlow’s first major magazine covers was with us, while previous covers have starred body- positive icons such as Crystal Renn and Ashley Graham. Earlier this year, we hit another milestone when we featured our first sexagenarian cover star, 65-year-old Ong Bee Yan, who proved that when it comes to style, age doesn’t factor into the equation.
From left: Cover girls Winnie Harlow (May 2018) and Ong Bee Yan (April 2021)
Here at BAZAAR, we are all about moving forward and embracing the new and the next. When the digital revolution arrived (in tandem with the rise of Instagram a little over a decade ago), we were quick to get with the programme. The social media darlings who dominated this new landscape were soon lensed exclusively for our covers and it was a gloriously global mix—Italy’s Chiara Ferragni, South Korea’s Irene Kim and Australia’s Nicole Warne have all put in stints as BAZAAR cover girls.
From left: Chiara Ferragni (June 2015) and Irene Kim (June 2017)
Related article: On Set With Chiara Ferragni For June 2015 Issue
Beyond fashion, BAZAAR is a celebration of the good life—and food is very much a part of that. Some would even go as far as to say that it is a key component of our national identity. So it’s no surprise that the most delectable delights have often found their way into our fashion shoots. After all, what better pairing is there than scrumptious bites with sumptuous fashion? Together, it’s a treat so good it will satiate even the most epicurean of pleasure seekers.
Model, entrepreneur and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, shot for BAZAAR August 2017
Over the years, what started as a women’s style bible has grown to include the men in her life and thus, BAZAAR Man was born. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this segment comes loaded with a side of delicious eye candy. Some of our most memorable men’s covers include our celebration of Singapore’s first Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling, in a shoot that paid tribute to Steve McQueen’s 1965 BAZAAR US cover, and this October’s double whammy of home-grown superstar JJ Lin and K-pop sensation Cha Eun-woo.
From left: Joseph Schooling (June 2018), and JJ Lin (October 2021)
The link between Harper’s BAZAAR and Hollywood is inextricable—the American edition even launched the career of Lauren Bacall, who was famously discovered by movie execs after her 1943 cover. BAZAAR Singapore has proudly continued this legacy, capturing movie stars at both their peaks and their ascendancy—with a particular penchant for shining the spotlight on the Asians taking over Tinseltown. A roll call of these names include the iconic Michelle Yeoh; Gemma Chan and Constance Wu of the history-making, record-breaking Crazy Rich Asians; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who has enamoured both Bollywood and Hollywood.
From left: Constance Wu (July 2018), and Priyanka Chopra Jonas (March 2020)
When Carine Roitfeld took on the role of Global Fashion Director at Harper’s BAZAAR, she brought with her an extensive Rolodex comprising pop culture’s biggest movers and shakers. Each season, she would assemble a motley crew of the world’s biggest stars from the realms of music, film and fashion, and put together an expansive Icons portfolio filled to the brim with the most fabulous fashions. The likes of Kate Moss, Katy Perry, and Kim Kardashian West and Ye have all struck a pose for Roitfeld.
Katy Perry (September 2015)
There may be a perception of fashion as being cold and haughty, but at BAZAAR, we heartily disagree. Here, we are all about taking delight in dressing up and harnessing the transformative, transportive powers of fashion. From all-American bombshell-next-door Kate Upton, photographed with man’s furry best friend, to a merry band of free spirits frolicking across rolling fields and hills lensed by Georges Antoni, feel-good fashion is the name of our game.
From left: A shot from the May 2021 issue, and Kate Upton (January 2015)
It was Coco Chanel who famously quipped, “If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” We couldn’t agree more, but we’d also argue for a dash of colour for every mood and occasion. The proof is in our magazine, where some of the most spellbinding beauty wizardry has come to life.
A super-saturated pout from the June 2009 issue
She graced the cover of our very first issue in November 2001 and reprised the role for the August 2009 issue—both times looking like the force of nature that she is. Rising to fame at a time when representation was not yet the integral part of the cultural conversation it is today, Liu broke through the “bamboo ceiling”— becoming a burst of fresh air in Hollywood and a beacon of hope for those who followed in her steps.
Any star worth her salt knows that pop is as much about the look as it is the music. At BAZAAR, we’ve played dress up with some of music’s biggest names—dating all the way back to Janet Jackson in 2007 and Fergie in 2008. In fact, the former loved her cover so much that she flew our Editor-in-Chief (then Fashion Director), all the way to LA to style the now-iconic cover of her 2008 album Discipline.
From left: Fergie (May 2008), and Janet Jackson (January 2007).
One of the most important things we do at BAZAAR is to uplift the next generation of talent. Since 2013, BAZAAR Singapore has undertaken a regional initiative, the Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award, an annual design competition meant to provide a platform for the rising stars of fashion in Southeast Asia. Offering mentorship from industry insiders, a scholarship for a master’s degree and a cash prize for the winner, the Award has proven a major boost for those beginning their fashion journey.
The audacious creations from the 2015 Harper’s BAZAAR Asia NewGen Fashion Award
No fashion shoot is complete without the thrill of a little drama and we’ve had our fair share. You’ve seen the antics of Kimora Lee Simmons in her reality show, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane—trust us when we say the theatrics are real and not just for TV. We shot her twice in Kuala Lumpur; the first was on a rooftop and when it suddenly poured, she stripped off her $20,000 Valentino gown and ran for shelter in nothing but her thong, her Louboutins and a plastic bag she scooped off the floor to protect her hair. Then there’s that time Naomi Campbell blew into town and kept the BAZAAR crew waiting for nine hours before she showed up at the shoot. Later, wanting to do one last shot for her cover story, she kept her Singapore Airlines flight grounded on the tarmac for 45 minutes while everyone else was biting their nails—just another day in the life of a supermodel.
Cover personalities such as Kimora Lee Simmons and Naomi Campbell (left) bring the thrill.
Related article: EIC Kenneth Goh On Working With Supermodels In His Career
It’s not for nothing that they call the City of Lights the fashion capital of the world. It’s practically the birthplace of modern fashion as we know it—home to some of the most electrifying designers in the world. More than a few of our most iconic shoots were set in the streets of Paris—from the gritty to the uber glamorous. From Kristina Salinovic in Lanvin against a sparkly Eiffel Tower to Sara Sampaio channelling full 1980s glamour on Pont Alexandre III bridge, Paris is always as much a star as the fashion and the faces.
From left: Sara Sampaio in Bottega Veneta underneath the Pont Alexandre III bridge (October 2019). Kristina Salinovic in Lanvin in front of a glittering Eiffel Tower (September 2012)
Beauty is non-binary and we’ve always celebrated it in all its forms in these pages. Our fashion reportage has tracked gender fluidity as it came into the forefront of culture, while our shoots have featured subjects that live on their own terms, labels be damned—transgender model Valentina Sampaio appeared on a double cover last year, while RuPaul’s Drag Race star Detox not only popped up in our pages, but also gave a high-octane performance at our 2018 NewGen finale.
A male model in a Chanel skirt (May 2019)
The BAZAAR team loves a good narrative arc when it comes to our most epic shoots and what could be better than a love story? Well, perhaps one with a hint of kink. One of Cindy Crawford’s most unforgettable shoots for this publication was set at the Stahl House in LA, with the supermodel dressed in leather and latex, and accessorised with an older gentleman friend. On the sweet side of things, our most recent September cover featured rising stars and lovebirds Maddie Ziegler and Eddie Benjamin as they play house on a Californian ranch.
The story of BAZAAR would not be complete without the supermodels who bring our pages to life. No one else wears the clothes and works the camera the way these fierce, fabulous women do. From the OGs (Naomi! Cindy! Christy!) to the new guard—Coco Rocha, Lily Aldridge, Candice Swanepoel, Liu Wen—we have captured model behaviour at its very best.
… A decree issued by the legendary Diana Vreeland and a motto we have taken to heart. After all, the best of fashion is meant to spirit you away—be it to fantasy lands or into dreamlike states. From the canals of Venice to the rocky cliffs of Sydney, the souks of Morocco, the sun-drenched deserts outside Los Angeles, the ancient ruins of Cambodia and the majestic palaces of India, escapism never looked so good.
The Californian desert and Siem Reap’s Angkor Thom (right) have played backdrop to the latest fashions
As we celebrate every aspect in the life of the well-dressed woman, it only makes sense for us to also inject a little fantasy and fun into the lives of her mini-me.
You can spot The Vamp from a mile away—her hair teased, her face painted, her lashes fluttering, her waist cinched. It is femininity taken to the point of camp and we are here for it—this unabashed reclaiming and celebration of red-blooded, full-bodied female sensuality. Some of our steamiest shoots with the likes of Dita Von Teese, Victoria Beckham and Cindy Crawford have been in homage to the ladies who aren’t afraid to vamp it up.
From left: Victoria Beckham in Dolce&Gabbana (September 2013); and Dita Von Teese in Bottega Veneta (February 2013)
During her time at Harper’s BAZAAR (1936 to 1962), the iconic Diana Vreeland originated her now-infamous “Why Don’t You?” column in which she issued her outrageously over-the-top bon mots. Some choice quips: “Why don’t you rinse your blond child’s hair in dead champagne You” column to keep it gold, as they do in France?” and “Why don’t you turn your old ermine coat into a bathrobe?” They encapsulated her utterly irreverent, original worldview and the inimitable energy she brought to the pages of Harper’s BAZAAR—a legacy that lives on till today.
The “Why Don’t You” column today celebrates everything fun and fabulous
And we have lift-off! Ever since the Space Age rage in the 1960s that shaped the design language of icons such as Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges, fashion has been captivated by the endless possibilities of life in a galaxy far, far away. We, too, have indulged in these futuristic fantasies—most notably when we turned Milla Jovovich into an Amazonian alien beauty and Hyunjoo Hwang into a retro-futurist suburban housewife with a twist.
Hyunjoo Hwang (May 2020)
As the saying goes, sometimes, you have to look back to look forward. And in fashion, the past has always been a rich mine of inspiration. From Simon Upton’s 1920s flapper take of Eva Longoria to the ’80s camp remix of Dynasty with Yolanda Hadid and Kris Jenner, the BAZAAR shoots prove that sometimes, old is truly gold.
From left: Eva Longoria channels Josephine Baker in the April 2009 issue; Yolanda Hadid and Kris Jenner (October 2019)
If the Gen Z stars we’ve featured in our pages are anything to go by, the future is indeed bright. Driven, digitally savvy and wise beyond their years, some of our youngest cover stars are also our most ambitious—often multi-hyphenates with multi-platform reach. From child-stars-turned- major-Hollywood-players such as Millie Bobby Brown and Kiernan Shipka to celebrity-offspring- turned-It-girls Eleanor Lee and Ella Yam, it’s safe to say that the kids are alright.