❚ WHEN NICK LOGAN, A FORMER EDITOR OF THE NME, launched The Face in May 1980 little did he realise it would become the decade’s “style bible” and one of the six great postwar magazines to change the course of British journalism. The Face married music, popular culture, politics and street style with radical art direction and new fonts by Neville Brody. It paid peanuts to a select bunch of savvy and passionate writers, photographers and “stylists” who gave the word a fresh meaning (almost entirely lost today) and inspired an avalanche of imitators in mainstream media, retail, advertising and beyond.
Itself dubbed “the world’s best-dressed magazine”, The Face broke with mainstream complacency by actively inventing or giving focus to entire movements that combined clothes, music and attitude. Many came to define the 80s – from The Cult With No Name which was eventually rechristened New Romantics, the Hard Times ripped Levi ensemble, the Burberry-loving Casuals, and the “bad boy” Buffalo silhouette created by Ray Petri and Jamie Morgan. This, if any, became the urban male uniform of the mid-80s, and was celebrated only last winter by an issue of Arena Homme + magazine, art directed by Brody who designed for the occasion two custom typefaces called Buffalo and Popaganda.
At its peak The Face sold 100,000 copies monthly. Brody moved on in 1986 and Logan in 1999, though the title endured until 2004. Logan launched Arena in 1986 as a men’s monthly, soon edited by Dylan Jones, who today edits GQ UK. The British edition of Arena endured until 2009.
➢➢ The birth of The Face — Read the first article introducing Nick Logan’s new magazine, in the Evening Standard on May 1, 1980
HOW THE TWO KEY SHAPERS BEHIND THE FACE SAW IT
❚ NICK LOGAN, publisher of The Face, was a working-class journalist from East London “People said you couldn’t then call a magazine anything as obscure as just The Face… I didn’t see why Tatler should have good paper and good photography and it should be denied to people like me.”
❚ NEVILLE BRODY on art-directing the early Face “It was a big laboratory. The New Order cover was a picture of the lead singer, and it wasn’t that great, a bright blue background. I said to Nick this picture was so shit and he said, Why don’t you crop it off the corner of the page? All you saw was the top left-hand corner of his face – immediately so commercial, and no other commercial magazine would have done anything like it. Great courage is what set his magazine apart.”
➢➢ Launching the style decade Lively social analysis in BBC Radio 4’s anniversary documentary starring all the usual suspects: on iPlayer until May 13