Katherine Hadley Betts (born March 8, 1964) is an American fashion journalist. Currently she is a contributing editor at Time and The Daily Beast, among other freelance writing positions, and reporting on fashion for CNN. She lives in New York with her family.
She began her career at Fairchild Publications‘ European office in Paris. During the 1990s, she became a senior editor at American Vogue, where she was considered the likely successor to Anna Wintour as editor-in-chief. She later became the editor of Harper’s Bazaar instead, one of the youngest editors of a fashion magazine ever, for two years. In 2011, her book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style was published by Clarkson Potter.
Betts was born into an affluent upper class family and raised in New York City. Her father, Hobart Betts, was a prominent architect; her mother Glynne was a photographer and socialite. She attended Princeton University, where she wrote for The Daily Princetonian and graduated with an A.B. in history in 1986 after completing an 127-page-long senior thesis titled “Beauty in the Streets: The Impact of Student-Worker Action on French Political Consciousness in the Events of May, 1968.” After graduating, she went to work in France as a freelance journalist for Metropolitan Home, European Travel & Life and the International Herald Tribune. An article she wrote for one of these publications about boar hunting in Brittany caught the attention of publishing mogul John Fairchild. He hired her as a features writer for Fairchild Publications‘ Paris bureau, overseeing fashion coverage for Women’s Wear Daily, W and M magazines.
She has recalled this period of her career as essential to her development as a fashion journalist.
I was a reporter. I was reporting on the lingerie business and perfume launches — what everybody at Women’s Wear Daily has to start off with. That’s where you learn about the industry; that’s the baptism by fire. You learn about fabrics, you have to cover Premiere Vision, which is the big fabric fair in Paris, and you have to figure out who the perfume nose is at Christian Dior and the difference between the fragrances. You have to learn a lot about the people and processes of each industry within the fashion industry. And that’s the best way to learn about fashion.