For years and years we here at the Brooklyn Gal have always considered Vogue to be the fashion victor, far surpassing its glossy competitor Harper’s Bazaar in every way. But now that we’ve read A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters, Penelope Rowlands’ 2005 biography of the legendary editor, we see Hearst’s style bible in an entirely different light. During Snow‘s reign at HB, from 1934 to 1958, it seems that every chic woman of intellect actually turned to Bazaar, hungry for the scoop on the Paris collections and the latest fiction of the day, written by literary lions like Truman Capote. A powerhouse and prognosticator, Snow was the editrix who delivered all of this and so much more. Blessed with sheer talent and uncanny instincts, she was unstoppable, setting her trained eye on a target and never saying no until she got what she wanted.
If the Devil wore Prada, well, the Irish Snow wore Mainbocher, before bridging into Balenciaga with wardrobe changes to Chanel in between. Diana Vreeland’s quirky style, quotable quotes and indelible imprint may be far better known by fashion worshippers today, but in her time Snow, Bazaar‘s tough, highly influential and oftentimes pickled editor, ruled the roost. Her list of discoveries — yes, Vreeland, along with Avedon, Balenciaga and Pucci — reads like a who’s who of fashion hitmakers, while her work ethic, career first, family second, was more akin to today’s world than hers and not especially laudable in those days. She had her flaws, for sure, but she also had a vision.
Books, plays and museum exhibits have all placed D.V. on a pedestal and she will never be forgotten. Perhaps there’s room for another mover and shaker on your e-reader. We think the time has come for a Snow revival.