‘The Story of The Face: The Magazine that Changed Culture’
This book is about the benchmark publication that set the creative standard and paved the way for youth-oriented zines, style sheets and subcultures that defined the 80s, 90s and beyond.
Launched by NME editor and Smash Hits creator Nick Logan back in 1980, The Face became the transmission mechanism of “style culture” and the UK’s main vein barometer of the arts, fashion, photography, film, music and youth.
With vision, pith, irreverence, passion and progressivism, the swashbuckling rag provided a wonderful window for misfits, mods, punks, ravers and seekers in search of communities, new brands, like-minded tribes, artistic oxygen and an unrivaled conceptual-aesthetic lens to appreciate life.
The Story of The Face follows the vertiginous ebb and flow of the publication’s life cycle in two parts. Part one focuses on the meteoric rise of the zine in the 1980s, highlighting its socially arresting visual identity ― embodied by Neville Brody’s pioneering graphic designs and typography, Nick Knight’s frontline photography, and the “Buffalo” styling of Ray Petr ― and its heterodox approach to journalism, advertising and trend-setting.
The players included a clutch of hungry writers and editors who subsequently made their mark in the wider media universe, from Julie Burchill, Robert Elms, Tony Parsons, and James Truman to Jon Savage, Richard Benson, Sheryl Garratt, etc.
Part two highlights the mag’s boom-bust pattern in the 90s, after weathering the jarring Jason Donovan libel suit, the magazine heralded the post-acid house era of Britpop, Brit Art and, in hindsight, served as a sort of pre-internet/pre-social media portal, whereby visual culture, street style, social critique, politics and everything else added up to necessary clarities, metaphysical kapows, and exuberant visages that spurred feelings of rebellion, revolt and endless creativity.
However, after The Face had become the cyclotron of the thriving British magazine industry, the decade’s end also saw the unleashing of relentless Darwinian forces, DIY-copycats, digital pirates and the internet that eventually put the publication on a downward trajectory.
With a super-cool intro by Dylan Jones (editor of i-D, Arena and now GQ), The Story of The Face is an engaging behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of one of the 80s and 90s’ most influential music and style publications. We love this book! Thank you, Paul Gorman! Buy it here.
Price: $31.31 – 345 pages, illustrations and awesome text in color + black and white.
Images via © Nick Logan/The Face Archive
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