It’s hard to imagine a publication in our current saturated and PC media landscape that would do something like interview a rockstar at 2 a.m. in a hotel room, like British pop culture/style tome The Face’s did for its 1993 issue with Kurt Cobain. When the magazine first hit newsstands in May 1980, it was quickly established that The Face was unlike any other publication out there.
As Paul Gorman wrote for GQ, “In certain regards, browsing the pages of The Face prefigured the contemporary consumption of visual information.” And now, the magazine, which published its last issue in 2004, is returning to the era of pop culture media it set a precedent for. Dan Flower, the publisher who helped launch Pop magazine with stylist extraordinaire Katie Grand, and former Amuse editor Stuart Brumfitt are bringing back The Face, updated for a 2019 audience. The publication, under new ownership and editorial direction, launched their social media today and will debut online in late April.
One of The Face’s new editorial members, No Vacancy Inn’s Acyde, told Business of Fashion that the publication’s return won’t be a “nostalgia trip,” explaining that they “want to be representative of that new way of sharing information and conversations.” Below, we rounded up The Face’s six most iconic moments.
1980: David Bowie appeared on The Face’s fourth-ever issue. An indicator that your magazine is doing something right is having Bowie appear on your cover.
1982: That time The Face introduced us to grunge fashion. The Face’s 1982 cover featured the torn, faded denim jean pockets of Sade’s manager Lee Barrett. “The issue came at a time when tensions in the UK were running high—we were in the midst of a recession, heroin use was on the rise as the drug started pouring in from Afghanistan, unemployment was rife—and this kind of ‘hard’ look became quite popular,” Gorman told Dazed. “You know, ripped jeans, battered leather belts, and layered T-shirts that had seen better days. It was kind of a precursor to grunge.”
1990: The July cover that jumpstarted Kate Moss’s career. “The 3rd Summer of Love,” a hippie-inspired dive into “Daisy Age fashion, Hendrix, and psychedelia” featured a then-unknown 16-year-old Kate Moss wearing a feather headdress.
1992: After a lawsuit nearly financially ruined The Face, their “Love Sees No Colour” issue was a triumphant comeback. Gorman told Refinery29 that the May 1992 “Love Sees No Colour” issue was his favorite from the magazine’s tenure. After Australian singer Jason Donovan took the publication to court for their implications that he was gay, The Face was staring down financial ruin.
The cover, with Boy George holding two kids, and accompanying feature, Gorman said, “were all about protesting for tolerance, inclusivity and diversity.”
1992: That time they won an Amnesty International Media Award. Though music and fashion were at the core of The Face’s editorial matter, they also went after serious issues, like the time writer Gavin Hills wrote about child soldiers in Somalia that garnered the magazine an Amnesty International Media Award.
1993: That time they interviewed Kurt Cobain in a hotel room at 2 a.m. Writer Amy Raphael had what ended up being a hauntingly prophetic interview with Cobain on a “king-size bed in a tacky Manhattan hotel” at 2 a.m. on July 24, 1993. “He talks about death for so long that I am left wondering not if but when,” she wrote for Esquire about the interview that happened a year before Cobain’s suicide.