Bea Feitler: an icon of design

If Harpers  Bazaar and Rolling Stone conquered a huge success it happened specially because of one woman, Beatriz Feitler, the art director responsible for many of the most iconic magazine covers ever.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1938, Bea studied design at Parson’s School during the 50’s. 
Back to Brazil, after her graduation in 1959, Bea worked for “Senhor”, a famous brazillian magazine foccused on arts and culture , published from 1959 to 1964. Feitler knew how to explore the blank spaces and how to use illustrations of the greatest Brazilian artists.

 Bea went back to New York in 1962 and was hired by “Harper’s Bazaar” as art assistant . She was only 25 years old when became the co-art director  along with Ruth Ansel. 
A time of inovation and discovering, the 60’s were the perfect time to  explored her creative potential, and she did it great. The 60’s were a trampoline to Bea became one of the most influential art director of the American scenario – I dare to say international – .
Bea stablish an memorable partnership with the fashion photographer Richard Avedon and for the first time the put a black model on the pages of a fashion magazines. 
 In Bazaar Bea intrudoced a young photographer to the editorial world, Annie Leibovitz, and many young designers who worked with her went on to become prominent art directors, including Carl Barile at “Avenue”, Charles Churchward at “Vanity Fair” and Paula Grief at “Mademoiselle”.

In 1972, after 10 years Bea left Bazaar to the audacious project of Gloria Steinem,”Ms”, a liberal feminist magazine. It was time to go further, now, her creations would have a bigger social impact. 
Even while he was art director for major magazines, Feitler did book covers, album covers and book design projects in progress.

“I don’t just sit around going to parties, or pushing my name by kissing people over lunch at La Grenouille. It would help, but I don’t have the time. What sells me is my work,” Feitler once remarked about her career. 

  In 1974 she left “Ms”. From 1974 to 1980 Feitler teached graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. 
In 1975 by insistence of  Annie Leibovitz she went to “Rolling Stone” magazine, the bible of music. Bea was more pop then ever, bright colors and typohraphy were her mark and she was strongly influenced by the master of pop art, as Warhol and Lichtenstein . 
Feitler redesigned the format of Rolling Stone twice: in 1977 its tenth anniversary edition with photographs by Annie Leibovitz, and again in 1981 when it changed from tabloid to the current format of the magazine.

Unfortunately Bea Feitler died on April 8, 1982.
Feitler’s final project was the premiere issue of the revived Vanity Fair. At that time she had undergone surgery twice to treat a rare form of cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy for several months already. Although she approved the mechanicals, after completing the issue she went back home to Brazil and did not live to see it published.

Bea Feitler and Ruth Ansel with photographer Bill King


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