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1988 Details Provides a Warhol-Perry Ellis-Limelight Time Capsule

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Dear Details,

Any of those images look familiar? They should—they're all from your July 1988 issue! A friend of Racked found some vintage issues recently and passed this one on to us—and it's amazing.

First a quick primer: Details was founded in 1982 and purchased by Condé Nast in 1988 before being relaunched in 1990 as a men's magazine. The version you see on newstands today is the result of a subsequent relaunch, circa 2000. Before all that? Details was kind of a hipster (or "downtown" if you want to go with a more era-appropriate term for cool, artsy fashion-drunks who probably weren't cool in high school) New York magazine with a focus on women's fashions and Manhattan nightlife.

Now that that's all out of the way, some fun stuff: It's mostly in black and white and the paper does not feel great. The cover story is on Robert Plant. The masthead isn't entirely unfamiliar. There's a feature story on hip hop sampling verses the music industry that includes a chart of sorts mapping samples from Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie songs to the original (mostly James Brown) funk and soul tracks. There's an ode to clodhoppers as well as a separate photo spread called "English Leather" that features mostly menswear-inspired, mostly chunky designer shoes (either of these could appear in a 2011 fashion magazine as long as someone substituted Prada for Red or Dead or Christina AhrensVivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Manolo Blahnik are, of course, evergreen).

There's a very trippy surrealist spread featuring a cat in a dollhouse, a portrait of Elvis, some carved wooden fish and terrible jewelry. There's an awesome feature called "Three Albums You Won't Like" (the albums are by Railway Children, Camper van Beethoven and Ambitious Lovers so, yeah, they were probably right).

And—a year after Andy Warhol's death—there are two major Warhol call-outs. First, a piece called "Andy Would've Loved It," detailing a charity re-recording of Petula Clark's "Downtown" by "New York's downtown luminaries and celebutantes." Writer Stephen Saban: "Naturally, I said I would do it. Like the rest of the downtown scene, I love helping people—especially if it involves a fabulous party. And credit." The photos—there are shots of Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Matt Dillon, Christopher Walken, RuPaul, Michael Alig, Dianne Brill, Michael Musto, Mary McFadden, Bret Easton Ellis, Jay McInerney—are by Patrick McMullan.

Some things never change.

The other: A hilarious account of the epic Sotheby's auctioning off of Warhol's estate, at which a collection of cookie jars valued at $6000 sold for $247,830. The author, Anka Radakovich, "thought the cookie jars were some of the tackiest things [she'd] ever seen until [she] caught a glimpse of the bad suit that the man who bought most of them was wearing." Factor in her description of the new rich juxtaposing the society matrons and let's just say she'd be a welcome addition to the snarky blog of her choice.

The ads are pretty special, too: Awesome Perry Ellis footwear for women! Kenneth Cole: Old dog, old tricks. China Club, Club DV8 and Limelight—eight locations in all; several defunct restaurants and clubs; brands we've never heard of; a high-end boutique in San Francisco stocking Tripp and Joe Boxer alongside Betsey Johnson and Sprouse (and Z. Cavaricci!); oh, and a new Sade album.

Born too late.


· Love, Frank [RNA]