Laura Brown (fashion journalist)

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Laura Brown
Born (1974-05-27) May 27, 1974 (age 45)

Laura Brown (born May 27, 1974)[1] is the Editor in Chief of InStyle Magazine and former Features/Special Projects and Executive Director of Harper's Bazaar magazine. She graduated from Charles Sturt University, where she received her B.A. in arts and communications.[1]

Early life[edit]

Brown was born in Australia and is an only child. The first years of Brown's childhood were spent in Camden, a suburb in Sydney's southwest, where her father was a dairy farmer. When she was five, Brown's parents divorced and she moved with her mother Lola to Manly. Brown's mother worked in insurance. The pair later moved to North Sydney and Brown attended Willoughby Girls High School, where she said, "I don't think people would have even thought of me as especially fashionable."[2]

In an interview with Matches Fashion, Brown said, "I had delusions of grandeur from a young age. I remember when I was about eight and I used to style up my bath towels into looks. I loved magazines and fashion and the glamour of Hollywood; the whole thing." In 2017, Brown told USA Today, "I wanted to be in magazines since I was nine years old."[3]

After high school, Brown went to Charles Sturt University in the regional New South Wales town of Bathurst, which is renowned for its journalism course. Brown has joked in interviews that during her university days, when everyone else was spending money on marijuana, she was spending it on American fashion magazines.[4]


Brown's media career began at the now-defunct Australian fashion magazine Mode where she was a production editor for two years. At age 21, Brown then moved to London for two years where she worked as a freelancer, including as a correspondent for Harper's Bazaar Australia. While freelancing in London, Brown paid her own way to Paris where she snuck into fashion shows without credentials and took photos on a disposable camera.[5] Upon returning to Australia, Brown was employed by Harper's Bazaar Australia as a features editor, a role she held for two years. Brown has said that while back in Sydney, she again longed to be overseas, this time New York: "I remember one day I was at home, and I was writing a review of a Helmut Lang show off the internet, and I remember feeling, I don't want to see this second hand, I want to see it for myself. I want to see that model, or that designer or that piece of art, or that theater, and that was it, I just had to go—there wasn't even a choice."[6]

On September 4, 2001, with $5,000 saved, Brown moved to New York. Brown entered the U.S. on a foreign journalist visa and was writing for magazines outside of the U.S., sending her checks back home to Australia for her mother to deposit into her bank account.[5]

Brown then landed a job on Tina Brown's Talk magazine shortly before it folded. She then worked as a senior editor at W and as articles editor at now-defunct men's magazine Details. Brown joined Harper's Bazaar on Valentine's Day in 2005 and was responsible for selecting the covers of the magazine. She produced many of the magazine's coups: from The Simpsons in Paris to fashion designers Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg on Sesame Street. Perhaps Brown's most famous cover was the March 2015 cover featuring the singer Rihanna in a gold swimsuit inside the jaws of a shark to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Steven Spielberg film 'Jaws.' The cover, a recreation of a photo of Spielberg posing the same way with Jaws, was awarded Best Fashion and Beauty Cover in 2016 by ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors). While at Harper's Bazaar, Brown broke the exclusive interview with Janet Jackson after the death of her brother Michael and profiled influential women including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, and also hosted two popular digital video series, "The Look" and "In and Out of Fashion with Laura Brown." Time Inc.'s August 22, 2016 media release announcing Brown's appointment to InStyle said Brown had broken many of the most newsworthy stories at her former title. "She challenged the status quo with unconventional collaborations, developing art, film and fashion portfolios with artists Takashi Murakami, John Baldessari, Francesco Clemente and Cindy Sherman and directors Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, Pedro Almodovar and Tim Burton," Time Inc said.[7]

Of her time at Harper's Bazaar, Brown said, "I went straight into the loving arms of [Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief] Glenda Bailey, and I stayed there for 11 years."[5] The British-born Bailey was a mentor to Brown, who rose up the ranks at Harper's Bazaar from articles editor to executive director. After it was announced in 2016 that Brown would be taking over at InStyle, Brown posted a photo to her Instagram account on August 23, 2016 thanking Bailey with the caption, "Without this lady, I'd be nothin'. All my love and gratitude to Glenda Bailey, for 11 years of encouraging my creativity and pushing me to not settle for anything less than brilliant."

In 2017, Brown told USA Today, "I'm lucky in that, in so many ways, fashion editorial is dominated by women," she explained. "I think the greatest change in fashion has been the rise to prominence of female designers and photographers." [8]

Of her appointment to InStyle, Brown told Business of Fashion, "People turn up for this magazine and I just want to engage them in more and different ways," she said. "This is a massive, behemoth of a magazine. It's an incredibly powerful brand. It's a dominant force in this business. It has an amazing spine, I'm just bringing up the jazz hands a little bit."[9]

Brown took over the running of InStyle from previous editor in chief Ariel Foxman, who had been at the helm of the magazine for eight years.[10] The median age of an InStyle reader is 41.2, according to the 2017 Media Kit.

For her first cover of InStyle, Brown used the model Emily Ratajkowski, who first came to prominence in 2013 in the video clip for Robin Thicke's song Blurred Lines. In an interview with Australian media, Brown said, "InStyle used to be cashmere and Malibu, but now 'celebrity' is also Instagram models, designers, artists, politicians. Emily is an actor and a model." [11]

In September 2017, InStyle featured its first man on the cover, comedian and late-night TV host Stephen Colbert. Brown interviewed Colbert herself for the special cover, which went to 100,000 subscribers. The newsstand issue featured the more conventional cover choice of Selena Gomez and these covers, Brown's first September issue, were named Best September Issue by The Daily Front Row at its fifth annual Fashion Media Awards held on September 8, 2017.[12] Time Inc. announced that under Brown, InStyle had welcomed a number of new luxury advertisers to the September 2017 issue including Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Fendi, Céline, Valentino and Bunello Cucinelli.

The March 2018 cover of InStyle featured Oprah Winfrey who was interviewed by Brown. Asked about whether she plans to run for office, Winfrey said, "I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it's not something that interests me."[13]

Brown hosts a bi-weekly video series called "Dirty Laundry" in partnership with Time Inc's PeopleTV Network. Brown interviews celebrities in a laundromat and each video reveals personal and colorful stories behind the star's most beloved outfits and accessories. The series premiered May 25, 2017 with actress Priyanka Chopra.

Despite fears that printed magazines will die, Brown believes in power of magazines to engage a reader. In an interview with The Australian newspaper in 2017, Brown said, "What you produce as a magazine editor has to be more special, pretty or more glamorous or more fun or more entertaining. Diana Vreeland had this saying that 'the eye has to travel'. I have this saying that 'the eye gets really tired'. I don't want to read a magazine on a tablet, I want to sit there on my couch and open it up. People want to be entertained and have an escape and feel good and feel stimulated and feel part of things."[14] "I am a big believer in print remaining," Brown told Australian 60 Minutes in 2017.

In 2016, she was one of the guest judge in the final of Miss USA 2016 in T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. She was a featured judge alongside Iman and Isaac Mizrahi on Bravo's The Fashion Show and appears regularly on programs including Good Morning America, Today, and CNN American Morning.[citation needed]

In 2016, Brown collaborated with Australian handbag label Mon Purse to design a capsule collection. The three styles included in the range are The Boss Lady tote bag, The Girl On The Go bucket bag and The Minx evening sack. Of the range, Brown said, "I'm always running around NYC, jumping in and out of cars, carrying multiple things, so I needed bags to make things as easy as possible. I really need to be able to throw a bag over my shoulder, or for it to be hands free in some way." [15] The collaboration was timed to coincide with the brand's launch in the US. Brown was introduced to Mon Purse founder Lana Hopkins through a mutual friend when she came back to Australia for a holiday, and after the pair clicked, a collaboration was born.[15]

Personal style[edit]

Brown's personal style is a relaxed take on glamour. "My personal style is pretty easygoing, I'd wear jeans and a sweatshirt every day, if I could. It's mostly jeans, shirt, T-shirt and some sort of platform heel," she told The Daily Telegraph in 2016. "On grown-up days, I wear trousers with that same sort of combo. On super grown-up days, I go the full Valentino dress."[16] In 2010, Brown said, "When I was about 20, I couldn't believe you needed more than one black pair of shoes. Times have changed. I discovered High Street shoe stores when I lived in London and when I came here it was all over. I happen to be a shoe-sample size."[17]

Brown has revealed in interviews that she goes to Equinox and SoulCycle[18] and that she drinks "an iced coffee no matter what the weather is." [19]

Personal life[edit]

Since 2016, Brown has been in a relationship with Brandon Borror-Chappell, a stand-up comedian and waiter. Borror-Chappell penned an article about their relationship for website Refinery29 published on January 24, 2017. In the article, which was titled ‘My Girlfriend Is Way More Successful Than I Am — & 16 Years Older,' Borror-Chappell details how the pair met when he was working as a waiter at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles where Brown frequently stayed as a VIP guest. One morning, Borror-Chappell's computer malfunctioned so he hand wrote Brown's bill and included at the bottom "a cheeky prompt for her phone number." Brown gave him her number and said, "Text me. I dare you." Borror-Chappell said he later sent Brown a text which read: "Hello. I have a long history of backing down from dares, so please know that texting you is taking a whole lot of pluck." Their first date took place after Borror-Chappell flew to New York, and he has since swapped coasts to live with Brown in Manhattan.

Brown is considered[by whom?] a leading fashion figure on Instagram, and uses the app to promote the brand of InStyle. As of January 2018, Brown has 180,000 Instagram followers and more than 43,000 Twitter followers. Of Instagram, Brown has said, "It is the way to present yourself to the world. It is the magazine of your life." [20]

If Instagram is the magazine of one's life, then Brown's demonstrates that she is proud of her Australian heritage: her Instagram feed is full of images of Australian animals such as koalas and kangaroos, and she supports Australian labels such as Zimmermann by often wearing their clothes. Brown is friends with many celebrities, including fellow Australians Naomi Watts, Rose Byrne and Nicole Kidman, who regularly feature on her Instagram feed.[21] Of her friendships with celebrities, Brown says, "If I hadn't made a couple of friends after working with celebrities for so long, that wouldn't say much for my social skills."

Speaking about her homeland, Brown told Wish magazine in 2010 that she misses "the moving air that you feel on your face when you're at the beach [in Sydney]. If I could borrow that and swish it around my apartment, I would. And I love a good Mint Slice," referring to an Australian chocolate biscuit. Brown said her favorite thing about New York "is that at the beginning of the week you just don't know how your week is going to end. You can never predict. You're never bored."[22]


  1. ^ a b Clehane, Diane (3 June 2009). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, LAURA BROWN, FEATURES & SPECIAL PROJECTS DIRECTOR, HARPER'S BAZAAR?". Mediabistro. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  2. ^ Amelia Lester, 'How New York A-lister Laura Brown made her Australianness an asset,' Good Weekend, October 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Zlatopolsky, Ashley (November 15, 2017). "InStyle's Laura Brown: "You're not going to get somewhere distinct without your personality"". USA Today.
  4. ^ Lester, Amelia (October 6, 2017). "How New York A-lister Laura Brown made her Australianness an asset". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  5. ^ a b c "How Instagram, Creativity, And Collaboration Brought Laura Brown To "InStyle"". Fast Company. 2017-03-10. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  6. ^ "How Laura Brown Is Making Fashion Fun Again". Fashionista. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  7. ^ "Laura Brown Named Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc.'s InStyle". Time Inc Media Release. August 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "InStyle's Laura Brown: "You're not going to get somewhere distinct without your personality"". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  9. ^ Sherman, Lauren (October 24, 2016). "Laura Brown Talks New InStyle Strategy". Business of Fashion.
  10. ^ Steingrad, Alexandra (July 19, 2016). "Editorial Director Ariel Foxman Departs InStyle". WWD.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "INSTYLE's September 2017 Issue Named "Best September Issue"". Time Inc. Media Release. August 28, 2017.
  13. ^ Brown, Laura. "O That's Good".
  14. ^ Brook, Stephen (May 22, 2017). "Instyle's Laura Brown glossing over date with destiny". The Australian.
  15. ^ a b Renata Gortan, "Aussie designer collabs with local label," The Daily Telegraph, December 3.
  16. ^ Gortan, Renata (December 3, 2016). "Expat Aussie fashion insider, Laura Brown, now editor-in-chief of US InStyle mag collabs with local label". The Daily Telegraph.
  17. ^ O'Brien, Katrina (March 5, 2010). "At home with Laura Brown, fashion insider, downtown gal and collector of kitsch". Wish.
  18. ^ "Laura Brown Runs Us Through Her Go-To Products | THE FILE". THE FILE. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  19. ^ O'Brien, Katrina (March 5, 2010). "At home with Laura Brown, fashion insider, downtown gal and collector of kitsch". Wish.
  20. ^ "Instyle's Laura Brown glossing over date with destiny". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  21. ^ "Instagram post by Laura Brown • Jan 27, 2018 at 3:39am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  22. ^ Katrina, O'Brien (March 5, 2010). "At home with Laura Brown, fashion insider, downtown gal and collector of kitsch". Wish.