Hearst Magazines has been intent on adding some heft to its fashion books over the past year. First, there was Cosmopolitan, which under the leadership of Joanna Coles has put a premium on political coverage and “leaning in” à la Sheryl Sandberg. Now, Marie Claire is proving its own current events know-all with a campaign to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Equal Pay Act both in its June issue and first-ever Women Taking the Lead awards luncheon.
Monday afternoon, Marie Claire gathered a group of influential women to host the luncheon at Marea restaurant in New York. (Cosmo held its own similar girl-power luncheon, the Cosmo 100, last fall.) Editor in chief Anne Fulenwider and vp, publisher Nancy Berger Cardone, following a brief mutual love-fest, presented awards to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Katie Couric, Tory Burch and Sarah Jessica Parker (Serena Williams, also an honoree, was stuck in Paris doing press after her French Open win) for paving a path for women in their respective fields. Gillibrand gave a speech on fair pay and the Lilly Ledbetter act (“Lilly Ledbetter” was also the name of the day’s specialty cocktail, a rechristened Arnold Palmer), while Couric spoke of her early days in TV news, saying, “I always joke that I got into television news during a time when ‘harass’ was two words, not one.”
Marie Claire has long prided itself on tackling more serious issues than your average fashion book. It became more politically active under former editor Coles, who hosted a panel at the Democratic National Convention during the 2012 election. Fulenwider, who had been the magazine’s executive editor under Coles before moving to Brides, said that she is planning to further integrate the magazine’s fashion and current events sides later in the fall by combining the two in a single feature well.