September 07, 2009

Details magazine, September 1988

Before Details became a junior GQ, it was the the bible of New York City fashion, culture and party people. For 20-somethings in the Midwest wishing they were in Manhattan, $2 at the magazine stand was cheaper than a plane ticket, and we could be a part of the hip crowd without the threat of not measuring up. It picked up where Andy Warhol left off when he died in 1987.

The ads - like for Gaultier, above - seemed to speak a minimalistic NYC language that was decipherable after a couple of issues, and the cutting-edge designers tended to run different art in Details than they did in the mainstream fashion magazines like Vogue.

But unlike Vogue, they also ran ads from anyone who paid, so the hip was balanced with crap and that underscored the multiple layers of sublime to ridiculous that made the idea of NYC so enchanting.

The NYC clubs - like Odeon, above - or China Club were the destination, providing a shot at hanging in the same building as Matt Dillon or Dianne Brill. Most likely the NYC Club Kids would have blocked someone like me from entering, but I could avoid that embarrassment and still stay in the loop with...

...the best part of every issue, Stephen Saban's party-hopping column, lousy with photos and anecdotes about Cher's Bagel Boy, Rob Camilletti or Keith Richards hanging with 1980s supermodels. Saban knew everyone and dropped trivial facts learned about them while scarfing down free drinks at every cool place in the City. His was the ideal job.

Details had their own fashion issue every September, a decidedly low-rent affair of imperfectly laid-out black & white photos from the runways. This haste and nonchalance about haute couture from Marc Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi was beyond cool and made this obtuse world much easier to understand. Which also pretty much sums up how Details ladled out NYC to those who couldn't be there.