Carmel Snow

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Carmel Snow
Carmel White

(1887-08-21)August 21, 1887
DiedMay 7, 1961(1961-05-07) (aged 73)
OccupationMagazine editor
EmployerVogue, Harper's Bazaar
Carmel Snow commemorative stamp 2020 Carmel snow.jpg
Carmel Snow commemorative stamp 2020

Carmel Snow, born Carmel White (21 August 1887 7 May 1961), was the editor-in-chief of the American edition of Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958; she also served as the chair of that magazine's editorial board. [1] [2] [3] She was famously quoted as saying, "Elegance is good taste, plus a dash of daring". [4]



Early life

She was born in St Justin's, Dalkey, Dublin, to Peter White, a merchant tailor, and Annie Meyne. [5]

After her father's death from pneumonia on April 7, 1893, [1] she and her mother Annie moved to America. [1] Her mother eventually became a noted dressmaker for rich New York socialites. [1]

In 1903 Carmel attended school at a convent in Brussels; the Soeurs de Sainte-Marie is where she mastered her understanding of French. [4]


In 1921 she was introduced to Vogue editor Edna Woolman Chase by Anne Rittenhouse, for whom she had done a favor; [6] Condé Nast subsequently offered her the job of assistant fashion editor. [1]

In 1926 she was appointed as fashion editor at Vogue. [1] [7] In 1926, she also married George Palen Snow; wearing a gown of cream white satin trimmed with seed pearls and old Burano lace that had been in her family for many years. [1] [8] She later had three daughters; it was rumored that one of them suffered from schizophrenia, but this diagnosis has not been confirmed. [1] [9]

In 1929 her brother Tom White became general manager of the Hearst publishing organization. [1] Though Carmel had promised Condé Nast she would not take a job there, she did take a job at Harper's Bazaar . [1] She famously described her goal at Harper's Bazaar as creating a magazine for "well-dressed women with well-dressed minds". [4]

She discovered Martin Munkacsi, and in 1933 and persuaded him to photograph the Harper’s Bazaar December edition’s ‘Palm Beach’ bathing suit editorial. [1] For this editorial, he had the model Lucille Brokaw run toward the camera while he photographed, which was the first instance of a fashion model being photographed in motion. [1] [4]

She became editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar in 1934. [1]

She hired her art director Alexey Brodovitch on the basis of a 1934 exhibition of his work in graphic design at the Art Directors Club of New York. [4] She described his exhibit as a revelation, mentioning "pages that bled beautifully, cropped photographs, typography and design that were bold and interesting". [4] She found her fashion editor, Diana Vreeland, after noticing her dancing across a crowded room. [4] [10]

In 1947 she exclaimed, "It's such a new look!", thus coining that phrase in regard to Christian Dior's 1947 collection. [11] [12]

Snow died in 1961, while she was working with her long-time collaborator Mary Louis Aswell on her memoir, The World of Carmel Snow. [1] [13] The book was published posthumously. [4]


As to why Carmel's reputation faded, while Vreeland's did not, photographer Richard Avedon (quoted in a 2005 biography [14] of Carmel by Penelope Rowlands) said: "She was older, right? and she died before stardom was the thing." [4]

In 2020, Snow was one of a number of famous Irish people featured on stamps by An Post. [15]

Further reading

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  2. "CARMEL SNOW: TEN INFLUENTIALS - 10 Magazine10 Magazine". Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  3. John Giacobello (2003). Careers in the Fashion Industry. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 106–. ISBN   978-0-8239-4082-0.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Penelope Rowlands (2005). A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters. Atria Books, Simon & Schuster. pp. FM–. ISBN   0743480457.
  5. "General Registrar's Office" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2019.
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  8. "MISS WHIBRIDE OF GEOR6Ii P, 5NOW: Daughier of Mrs., Edward Vc:l Pelt Douglas Married at tho Home of Her Mother. ELIZABi'H SINGER WEDS Bishop $tlres Officiates at Her Marriage to H, de R. Lancaster In St.' Thomas's -- Other Nuptials.'". ProQuest   103654389.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. "Before There Was Vreeland: A biography of Carmel Snow, who brought quality fiction and photography into fashion magazines". ProQuest   93027084.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. Vreeland, Diana (1985) [1984]. D. V. New York: Vintage. pp. 116–117. ISBN   0-394-73161-1.
  11. Company History at Dior's website Archived 7 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. "History of Christian Dior S.A."
  13. "Carmel Snow, Editor, Dies at 73; Headed Harper's Bazaar Board: Leader in Fashion World on Both Sides of Atlantic Had Started With Vogue". ProQuest   115429911.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. "A Dash of Daring". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  15. Pollak, Sorcha (5 March 2020). "Pioneering Irish women feature in An Post's stamp set". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-03-09.