With a sharply asymmetrical bob of white-blonde hair and androgynous style, fashion editor Kate Lanphear is firm fixture on the fashion week street style photography blogs. In 2014 Maxim, a New York-based title that dominated men’s magazines in the 1990s, synonymous sexy, bare-it-all editorials, signalled that it was headed in a new direction by naming Lanphear its editor-in-chief.
Lanphear was formerly style director at T: The New York Times style magazine and before that, Elle, where she became a recognisable street style star. In a brief statement on the Maxim site, Lanphear said, “I am thrilled at this opportunity to join Maxim as the brand embarks on a new chapter. I hope to cultivate and broaden Maxim’s coverage of style and culture.” Lanphear will work in conjunction with Paul Martinez, the magazine’s creative director, and will begin building the rest of her team soon. Her first official issue will be March 2015.
Following a long career as senior fashion editor and then style director at American Elle magazine, she was named style director of The New York Times’ T magazine in early 2013. Her signature look is the clean, casual but edgy ensemble of skinny jeans, sweatshirts, plaid, and leather motorcycle jackets. Lanphear has earned a cult following for her ‘too cool for school’ minimalism.
Born in the rural, conservative American South, far away from a cosmopolitan New York where she is now based, Lanphear harboured an early interest in fashion and styling through magazines, which she started to collect as a young age. After earning a degree in journalism, she moved to London, where a youth revolution had taken hold, with bold new publications like The Face and i-D challenging and subverting fashion media.
From there, Lanphear relocated to Sydney and eventually landed at Australian Vogue and then Harper’s Bazaar, where she became a ‘jack of all trades’ at the then-fledgling publications. “The staff were so small that if you put your hand up you were allowed to do anything. You’re allowed to execute your own ideas, because it’s so small,” she told BoF in 2011.
After moving back to the United States, Lanphear worked at Harper’s Bazaar before becoming senior fashion editor at Elle magazine, which under her direction introduced a moodier, edgier aesthetic.
Style Director 2013 - Present, New York, United States
Elle US 2008 - 2013, New York, United States
Vogue Australia Australia