Over the course of his 30-year career, celebrated art director Fabien Baron has overhauled the image of five major fashion magazines and crafted the visual identities of multiple blue chip labels, including Calvin Klein , Balenciaga, and Burberry.
His instantly recognisable signatures — bold, elegant typography arranged around expanses of white space — have become mainstream, influencing the design for everything “from the Gap’s sales signs down to Tomato soup cans,” as he told BoF. He has also won numerous industry awards, particularly for his work on designer fragrances.
Growing up in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, Baron learnt typography and layouts from his father, who was an art director for several French newspapers. At the age of 20, after studying at the École des Arts Appliqués in Paris, he left to try his luck in New York City and landed at GQ after a meeting with the editorial director at Condé Nast, the late Alexander Liberman. Thereafter, he was introduced to the world of advertising while working at New York Woman, a magazine published by American Express.
Baron was soon counting department store Barneys as a client and eventually became art director at Vogue Italia, where Franca Sozzani had recently landed the top job. It was here that Baron really developed relationships with fashion designers.
He went on to join the late editor Liz Tilberis to reinvent Harper’s Bazaar in the early ‘90s, followed by Vogue Paris and Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. In between, Baron launched his own advertising agency, Baron & Baron, and has also co-designed a line of furniture and eyewear.
In April 2018, shortly after his resignation from Interview it was revealed that Baron and his wife, stylist Ludivine Poiblanc, had filed a $600,000 lawsuit against the magazine for outstanding invoices.
With eponymous agency, Baron's role now extends far beyond that of an art director. “Developing strategy is our job now — we have to create business plans and strategies," he told BoF. "It’s not just shooting a campaign. Now we have to consider the why, the how, the market, the business, what we spend. The list goes on and on.”