Denise Hale in Harper’s Bazaar

denise hale

Denise Hale in Harper’s Bazaar, August, 2013
Photographer: Douglas Friedman

You must get the August 2013 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which features not only this gorgeous photo of Denise Hale by Douglas Friedman, but also an excellent article by Diane Dorrans Saeks.

Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey says she’s “long admired Denise Hale, the epic San Francisco socialite, world traveler, and great lover of clothes,” and remembers when they traveled together in St. Petersburg, “she was the epitome of chic — out and about in a white T-shirt with white jogging pants and an emerald necklace.”

Diane Dorrans Saeks’ article features never-before published photos of Mrs. Hale with figures such as Queen Elizabeth, Ronald Reagan and Roberto Capucci. But the best is the one the magazine commissioned from Douglas Friedman for the piece. Dress by Gianfranco Ferre, hair styled by the incomparable Alex Chases, makeup by Tahni Smith — she looks stunning!


Surprisingly, the photo is similar to the one Larry Sultan took in 2007 for W magazine. Mrs. Hale is shown in the same exact spot in her Russian Hill residence, standing near Odilon Redon’s 1912 painting “Orchids,” which was a wedding gift from her late husband Prentis Cobb Hale, and wearing the same dress her beloved friend, Gianfranco Ferre, designed for her in 2000 (the way she wears that beautiful brocade gown shows exactly why she remains the best dressed woman in San Francisco since Madame Eleanor de Guigne.)

But there’s a major difference — in Sultan’s photo she appeared a bit pensive, a little unhappy, while in Friedman’s new photo, wow — that’s a woman of the world who is bursting with vitality, ready to experience life at its fullest! I dare say I’ve not aged as well in six years.

You’ll find two other San Francisco kids in the August 2013 Harper’s Bazaar: Vanessa Traina, who is called “as chic a they come,” and her close friend Alexander Wang, who is making fashion history as the designer for Balenciaga.

More of Diane Dorrans Saeks’ writing about Mrs. Hale can be found at