TWO DECADES OF CHANGING I-D
Byline: James Fallon
LONDON — Terry Jones never expected his baby to be 21.
Jones’s i-D magazine is celebrating 21 years of charting the hot and hip of the fashion world. The celebration is being marked with an international exhibition called “SMILEi-D” made up of photos from the magazine’s archives and sponsored by Emporio Armani. The exhibition opened March 30 at The Wapping Hydraulic Power Station in East London and it will travel next month to the Emporio Armani store in Milan’s Via Manzoni. Sites are being sought for it to go on to New York, Paris and Tokyo.
The exhibition is made up of 60 photos from the magazine’s fashion shoots, its signature “straight up” full-length street shots of people who look good in their clothes and portraits of celebrities and models such as Madonna, Sade, Kate Moss, Bjork, Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bundchen, Boy George and Spandau Ballet. The photographers include Wolfgang Tillmans, Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi, Corinne Day, Richard Burbridge, Juergen Teller, Kevin Davies, Thomas Degan, Jason Evans, Steve Johnston, Matt Jones, Steven Klein, Marc Lebon, Michel Momy, David Sims and James Palmer.
A book of the exhibition, titled “SMILEi-D — Fashion and Style: The Best from 20 Years of i-D,” was published in England last week. It includes a single spread from each issue of the magazine.
“I have always admired i-D magazine and believe Terry Jones, through i-D, has had an incredible impact at the cutting edge of fashion and creativity, pioneering the concept of mixing high fashion with street style,” Giorgio Armani said in a statement. “i-D, by showcasing so much new talent, has built an important archive chronicling the last 20 years.”
The aim of the book and exhibition was to recap the seminal moments of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties through i-D’s photos, Jones said in an interview during the installation of the show. The initial plan was to have only 50 photos, but then Jones and the photographers added an extra 10.
“The idea is to go around the exhibition like a clock, starting with an image from my ‘Not Another Punk Book,’ which came out in 1978, two years before the first issue of i-D,” he said. “But that was the starting point and the goal is to show that time wasn’t only about punk. There were Teddies and Rockers and all different tribes.
“There is such incredible styling in the photos of people just out on the street,” Jones added. “There’s a real attention to every detail and it makes you realize it inspired an entire generation of designers. It shook up the whole industry of fashion.”
In 1977, Jones was winding down as art director of British Vogue. He went on to consult for German Vogue, Jesus Jeans, as European art director for Fiorucci and on the first few issues of Donna magazine in Italy. But his dream was to start his own magazine exploring street style; the problem was, no publisher was interested.
So Jones launched i-D as a newspaper-sized, quarterly fanzine, supporting it with the money he received from consulting work. It almost died before its fourth issue because of lack of financing and was saved by Fiorucci. Jones then sold 51 percent of the company to Tony Elliot, publisher of Time Out, and its future was more secure. It changed to a regular magazine format with issue 14, and became a monthly three years ago. At that time, Jones gave up his consulting work and became fully involved in running i-D.
“I wasn’t happy with it and decided it was about time I got to grips with it,” Jones said. “So we remortgaged our house and have spent the last three years bringing i-D into adulthood.”
The magazine now sells about 60,000 copies monthly and is regularly thicker than many of Britain’s other mainstream fashion titles. Jones is unashamedly proud of what the magazine has accomplished in the last 21 years, but stressed it’s mainly a result of the people who worked there. They’ve succeeded in continually reinventing the magazine; for example, the team injected more environmental and social coverage when fashion was less interesting in the minimalist late Eighties, Jones said.
“For every period we’ve been in, we’ve always tried to do what we think is right for that time,” he added. “What we’ve tried to show is that fashion is more than a business. We’ve always tried to go beyond focusing on only fashion.
“Now many people don’t know how long we’ve been around. Some think we’re a new magazine. I see it as we’ve just started building the walls to the house of i-D. There is a long way to go yet. It’s why my introduction to the book is called ‘So Far So Good.”‘
Emporio Armani just concluded another photography exhibition, this one traveling to its stores in the U.S. Called “Perspectives,” it was in conjunction with Gen Art, the nonprofit group that supports emerging talent, and featured the work of three art photographers. It started in New York Feb. 15, is currently in San Francisco and will finish at the Honolulu Emporio Armani next month.