It may have only been in circulation from 1980 to 2004, but to this day, The Face retains its status as one of the world’s most influential (not to mention coolest) magazines. Though Nick Logan and his wife had just £3,500 in savings when he founded the title 38 years ago, it would be just a matter of months before The Face, which has since even been credited with launching the 21st century, put its modest origins in the past. It only took until their fourth issue, which came out that same year, for David Bowie to appear on the cover. (For the first time, anyway.)
Perhaps more importantly, though, The Face is also one of the coolest magazines to ever exist. (Though not everyone got it: the Evening Standard once referred to the mag as “a new-wave Life magazine for 16-25 year olds.”) Logan’s signature blend of high fashion, street style, photography, politics, journalism, and out-there art direction not only opened the door for a new batch of like-minded fashion and pop culture publications like i-D, but also for a new set of subcultures and movements like Buffalo, whose creator just so happened to be one of The Face‘s stylists.
Buffalo may not ring a bell these days, but you’re guaranteed to come across a few recognizable names when poring over the magazine’s archives, which is now easier for Londoners than ever. Thanks to a wall plastered with no less than 250 of the magazine’s covers, those who pay a visit to Lewis Cumbitt Square will practically walk into The Face Cover Archive, an outdoor exhibition on view through January 31. (Not to mention into the gaze of Madonna, Ethan Hawke, Naomi Campbell, Prince, Alexander McQueen, Robert De Niro, Björk, Courtney Love, Sade, Leonardo DiCaprio, Winona Ryder, and more of The Face‘s roster of past cover stars, much of whom were photographed by then up-and-comers Juergen Teller, Inez and Vinoodh, Nick Knight, and Corinne Day.)
But even Kurt Cobain in heavy eyeliner and a floral dress barely manages to compete with one of the wall’s most recurring figures: a then unknown 16-year-old, who’s now very much known by the name of Kate Moss. (Thanks in large part to her cover on the 1990 “Summer of Love” issue of The Face, which put her on the path to fame.) Luckily for those who can’t make it to London, it’s easy enough to see what you’re missing on Instagram—particularly seeing as Logan and his son now run a The Face tribute account.