Life On The Shelf

So here's some fat to chew.  I like to keep up with the times in this era of up-to-the-minute techno-changes that have infested our lives.  Did I squint with skeptical adoration at the onslaught of the smartphone? Yes.  Did I slowly enlarge my thumb joints by joining the ranks of texting like a madman?  Mayhaps.  Did I secretly lust for the Kindle, I-Pad and other e-readers like a crazed sneakerhead on line overnight for a limited-edition Nike?  Probably.  Yet with all my hungering for technology, there's still something that I find most endearing about the physical, in-hand acquisition that can be catalogued, shelved and pulled out in full color glossy 8 1/2X12 to 11X14 glory.  The magazine.

I admittedly love magazines and rarely throw them out.  My particular penchant is for designer fashion magazines but over time I've come to love and find inspiration in all types of publications.  I think I first got hooked with the images and prestige I would spy in the New York Times-Fashion of The Times issues when I was in grade school.  Then as I got older and truer to the late 80's, early 90's adolescent that I was, it was all about magazines devoted to my genres of interest like r&b and hip hop.  My bedroom from grades 6 through 11 were covered with posters and clippings from Word Up, Black Beat, Rap Pages and 2 Hype magazines.  En Vogue, Salt n Pepa, Rakim, Hi-Five and others could not escape my maniacal fingers as I clipped and taped their seemingly wonderful 'out-of-reach' lives to my walls, doors and doorposts.  I bought my first issues of GQ and Ebony Man in 1992 and forget about it; worlds collided and I became a fashion voyeur.

My first issue I bought of EM Ebony Man magazine.  Issue date July 1992

You may know him as Adebisi on HBO's "Oz" but Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje got his first break as a model in the pages of EM magazine.   Issue date October 1994

A young Shemar Moore posing in EM magazine.  Issue date November 1993
Remember Madonna's "Secret" music video from the album Bedtime Stories?  Richard Elms in EM magazine.  Issue date February 1997.

What still intrigues me to this day is how I regard the images in magazines.  This was before Internet and the times when popular culture was as close as just a click away on a cell phone.  The images for me represent a timeline of life.  They show what was going on in society that affected fashion, a love of my life.  What the silhouettes were and what affected their shapes.  What societal changes were taking place and how fashion reflected that in hem lengths, color, trend and model size.  Delving through them, you also get to see who is no longer around in fashion and who has had longevity.  Who got their start in fashion and moved onto to higher society or mediocrity.  Who the rebels were and who played it safe and how that changed the way we the public viewed fashion and the limits of taste and morality.  Magazines to me represent a jog through the past and a way to recall what you were doing and what the cultural mood was when Kate had an Obsession, Tom Ford reinvented Gucci, Donatella took over for her brother and going public in fashion overran staying private.

One of my earliest Men's Fashion Of The Times magazines.  Issue date September 15, 1991.

In the game, still strong, for over 10 years now Gisele Bundchen.  W Magazine Issue date January 1999.

Still stronger on the game is Ms. Moss.  W Magazine Issue date February 1995.

Longevity is the name of the game, Ms. Turlington, still hittin' 'em since the 80's.  W Magazine issue date January 1996.

The unending Ms. Campbell, W Magazine issue date June 2007.

Claudia Schiffer and Nadja Auermann for the Versace home ad campaign catalogue, 1995.

Supermodel Tyson Beckford for Mondo Uomo.  Issue date March/April 1995

Donatella Versace, shortly after Gianni's death, for Interview magazine supplement, 1998

A young James King, before the fall then rise, for New York Times Magazine with photographs by the icon Nan Goldin.  Issue date February 4, 1996.

So I currently have well over one thousand magazines on my shelves organized by publication.  Occasionally I flip through them to reinform, familiarize and discover some occurrence that I wasn't aware of before perhaps because someone or something hadn't peaked at the issue date.  And although I buy less magazines nowadays (I've developed a shoe habit) the reward is still the same.  They're my glossy reminders that fashion is cyclical and some of my fondest memories are periodical.

The noteworthy but now defunct:

Trace Magazine (still running) and their famed Black Girls Rule. issue date October 1999 and a one-time promising Russell Simmons upstart, One World Magazine. Issue date spring 1996.

The oh-so fashionable but now defunct Mondo Uomo.  Issue date March/April 1995.

The Back-In-The-Day rebel yell of The Face magazine, issue date October 1995 and the stylish upstart for men of color at the turn of the century, Code magazine.  Issue date November 1999.

The low on the radar but a key in the selling of his brand as a lifestyle, Giorgio Armani's bi-annual Emporio Armani magazine No. 16.  Issue date September 1996-February 1997.

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  1. You took it way back with your magazine pics. I, too, understand the appeal of a magazine and the images in it. For that reason, I still have Vibe mags from back in the 90s. We won't be parting anytime soon.



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