What are you going to wear to the club tonight? In the 1980s and 90s, there was one magazine with all the answers. Launched in May 1980, The Face was a monthly music paper reporting on fashion, politics, club culture and style. It was conceived by journalist Nick Logan to fill a gap in the market for a well-designed music magazine with quality writing. Its readership peaked at 128,000 in October 1995, when Robbie Williams (not included here) graced the cover, but by 2004, like so many other publications, it folded in a slowing print market. Now, in 2019, it’s back for the digital age under new ownership. Ahead of the first issue in September, we take a look at some of the most memorable content from its history.
In November 1980, The Face published an article titled ‘The Cult With No Name’ on a burgeoning nightlife scene in London’s West End, known as the ‘New Romantics’ or ‘Blitz Kids’. The decision to cover an underground youth movement marked a shift away from conventional music reportage.
Between 1981–86, art director Neville Brody was instrumental in creating the magazine’s distinctive constructivist-inspired visual identity. His first assignment was to layout an interview between former editor Steve Taylor and Kraftwerk’s elusive leader Ralph Hütter.
A collection of photographers, designers and artists popularized a hybrid look that came to define the 1980s. Known as ‘Buffalo’ style, the fashion trend combined different casual and formal elements and sought to challenge accepted ideas of gender presentation.
The Face helped launch the careers of models, designers, photographers and writers including Alexander McQueen and Juergen Teller. In July 1990, a sixteen-year-old Kate Moss first appeared in print photographed by Corinne Day on a beach in Camber Sands, UK.
The magazine reported on social and political issues such as drug culture, activist causes and international conflicts. The ‘Love sees no colour’ cover of May 1992 featured Boy George above the lines: ‘FIGHT BACK! don’t let the bigots grind you down.’