Fabien Baron

Fabien Baron has redesigned some of the most famous publications in the world, including Harper’s Bazaar and French Vogue. He talks to Jacob Bernstein about reinventing Andy Warhol’s Interview and doing a new book with Madonna.

In 2008, Fabien Baron took over as the editorial director of Interview magazine, and it quickly became a hybrid of a magazine and a coffee table book. Many of Baron’s tricks are at play on this recent Lindsay Lohan cover—such as the absence of cover lines and a certain stark quality. Baron also opted not to run a conventional portrait of the starlet/tabloid fixture, a daring choice only an independent magazine could get away with.

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Interview

The Lohan shoot from inside the magazine. Note the prodigious use of white space, the near absence of color, and the large block typefaces. All of them have been Baron signatures since the early ’90s, when he oversaw the design of Harper’s Bazaar.

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Interview

Marc Jacobs, one of Interview’s recent cover subjects. Of course, it’s hard to find a much better subject than Jacobs—who’s game for just about anything. Here, he’s done up almost like a clown, not quite in drag, not quite out of drag. The cigarette in his mouth is another choice not likely to appear in Vogue or a more commercial fashion magazine.

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Interview

More from Interview: a John Waters spread photographed by Richard Burbridge.

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Calvin Klein

A Baron-designed campaign for Calvin Klein underwear, starring Eva Mendes. Note again the minimalist aesthetic and add in an ample dose of sexual provocation. What else would you expect from Baron (or Klein)?

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Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Jeans doesn’t need Eva Mendes in a garter belt to hint at sex. Here, five PYTs engage in a bit of heavy petting. Like many ads for Klein, the campaign has created a bit of a ruckus, which Baron professes to be surprised and annoyed by. “Ten years ago, it was easier to do something than it is today,” Baron says. “People get offended by imagery way more than they used to…This country has become quite uptight.”

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Calvin Klein

Though everything from his clothes to his magazines are monochromatic, Baron isn’t totally averse to using color from time to time. Here, an ad for the Calvin Klein fragrance Euphoria, featuring the model Natalia Vodianova.

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Calvin Klein

An early ad for Calvin Klein Obsession with Kate Moss, who’s been a favorite subject of Baron’s over the years. Here, she’s naked (not to mention appearing in a campaign for men’s cologne). Moss was also the first person he put on the cover of Interview when he took the magazine over in 2008.

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Harper's Bazaar

An old issue of Harper’s Bazaar, where Baron worked from 1992 to 2000. Here, you can see a veteran design guy going in a slightly more colorful direction, but the spread retains an ethereal quality. For a person who’s been busy for 20 years juggling advertising work for Burberry, Calvin Klein, and Giorgio Armani with his duties at major fashion magazines, there’s an almost categorical aversion to clutter. His spreads have an almost languid quality, as if they were done at a Connecticut farmhouse on a Sunday afternoon.

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Harper's Bazaar

More from Bazaar.

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French Vogue

A Kate Moss spread from French Vogue, where Baron was hired to oversee design in 2003. Baron’s typefaces here are a little more playful than they’d been at Bazaar through much of the ’90s, but a certain stark quality still remains. This is not a guy who likes clutter.

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French Vogue

Again, from French Vogue.

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French Vogue

And again, from French Vogue.

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A Baron-designed ad for the jeweler Jacob & Co. Who needs clothes when you’ve got bling (and Baron)?

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One of art director Fabien Baron’s latest campaigns, for the YSL fragrance Parisienne. Starring who else? Perennial muse Kate Moss.