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; and the chair of the magazine's editorial board.[1][2][3] She was famously quoted as saying, "Elegance is good taste, plus a dash of daring".[4]

Carmel Snow
Carmel White

(1887-08-21)August 21, 1887
Dalkey, Ireland
DiedMay 7, 1961(1961-05-07) (aged 73)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationMagazine editor
Employer(s)Vogue, Harper's Bazaar
Carmel Snow commemorative stamp 2020


Early lifeEdit

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 wealthy 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] Also in 1926, she married George Palen Snow, while 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 had 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 readingEdit

  • Penelope Rowlands, A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters London : Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN 9780743480451, OCLC 63186302
  • Carmel Snow; Mary Louis Aswell, The World of Carmel Snow New York ; London : McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1962. OCLC 547124


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Women's Museum of Ireland | Articles | Carmel Snow". 14 July 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  2. ^ "CARMEL SNOW: TEN INFLUENTIALS - 10 Magazine10 Magazine". 2 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  3. ^ John Giacobello (2003). Careers in the Fashion Industry. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 106–. ISBN 978-0-8239-4082-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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.
  6. ^ Condé Nast: The Man and His Empire -- A Biography, by Susan Ronald, published September 2019 by St. Martin's Publishing Group
  7. ^ "Meet The Irish Woman Who Ruled New York Fashion". 15 July 2015.
  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}}: 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}}: 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}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "A Dash of Daring". The New Yorker. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  15. ^ Pollak, Sorcha (5 March 2020). "Pioneering Irish women feature in An Post's stamp set". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 March 2020.