Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Face Magazine, July 1990

The 3rd Summer of Love

“The Daisy Age”

Presenting some of the most iconic images of the fashion world, the July 1990 edition of The Face magazine was a launch platform for both the career of photographer Corrine Day and that of model Kate Moss. Phil Bicker, the editor of the teenage magazine commissioned a shoot of fifteen year old Moss and the images were published both as the cover photo and as a feature within. A black and white image series was produced on Camber Sands, a traditional seaside resort with an ‘ordinary’ young model and items included were unusual: they weren’t desirables or highly contrived - ‘Vogue’ - as was the expectation of fashion photography in the decade.

For Day, the shoot launched her career. She portrayed an attitude and lifestyle; an antithesis to traditional fashion photography and it captured attention. Moss became an iconic name, going on to work regularly for Vogue and building an enduring career that has already spanned three decades. Kate Moss is central to the narrative of Day’s career and reputation, and she became a selling point for The Face, going on to be the focus of later issues. The photos worked to show the models personality, ‘who Kate was[1]’ and teenagers could connect with this: she was shown as an ‘ordinary girl’ and was thus relatable.

The magazine was influential in showcasing trends to its audience –fashion, music, politics, a new art direction and celebrity status were focused upon – and it has become known as the decades “style bible”[2]. The images of Moss are representative of British youth culture: ‘The pictures were fresh, fun, carefree of pretension, completely honest and totally now. It was 21 years ago, but they still look totally ‘now’, now[3]’. The magazine, and the model, of the July 1990 issue were a point of interest for traditional British teenagers; the magazine was reputable and the features it showcased were seen to be a part of popular culture and thus bought into by readers. The Face could set trends, as was the case with the model-photographer team in ‘The 3rd Summer of Love’ shoot.

In 2011 The Face was added to the permanent collection of the Design Museum, London and it also featured in a Postmodernism exhibition at the V&A. While in print, the magazine cost less than £1 to purchase and yet it is now considered a museum piece illustrating the lifespan of a commodity. Although this issue was on sale only about twenty years ago, already archive copies retail at upwards of £20 a copy on auction websites, with more popular issues being incredibly hard to obtain. The 3rd Summer of Love, “The Daisy Age”, edition has become a collectable: for those concerned with the careers of Day, Moss or simply nostalgia of teenage years.

[1] Corrine Day, Diary. Directed and produced by Mark Szaszy. (BBC documentary, 2002)
[2]Birth of The Face: magazine that launched a generation of stylists and style sections (May 1st 2010)
[3]Craig McLean, ‘How Corinne Day made Kate Moss into the face of The Face’, The Telegraph Online (1st September 2011)
All images copyright: Sasha Wilkins, ‘Kate Moss by Corinne Day in The Face 1990’ Liberty London Girl (January 2nd 2010)

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