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Psy

A still from Psy's "Gangnam Style" music video.
Photo: Courtesy of YG Entertainment

If you've never heard of "Gangnam Style," the K-Pop video by the artist PSY (pronounced like the first syllable of 'psycho' not spelled out like, 'pee ess why') that's DOMINATED Youtube with 74 million views and is currently sitting pretty atop the iTunes charts, you should seriously reconsider your priorities (helpful hint: stop reading so many books! JKJKJK). Anyway, it's a great, noisy, catchy song that features a fun, giddyup dance sequence that's as easily mimicked as the Dougie or the Chicken Noodle Soup. Just go watch it and then read this thing in the Atlantic about its "subversive" themes that soooooorta treats the prospect of a pop song containing a meaningful social message as if Maru the box-jumping cat solved cold fusion. But I digress...

Long story short, there's a lot going on in this video that everyone from CNN to Gawker has covered regarding this "underground rapper" < -- (LOL meanwhile, this is PSY's 6th studio album) so all I want to talk about is the FASHION. Especially since "Gangnam Style" refers to a tiny neighborhood in Korea that prides itself on its bougie boutiques and pretty people. Obviously dude is label mates with 2NE1 and Big Bang on YG because he is DECKED OUT. It's also no surprise that Justin Bieber's team is interested in this middle-aged, South Korean superstar because MAN would those two look cute together. I smell a duet! (...And it smells like kimchi etc etc...)

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cindy crawford

'House of Style' host Cindy Crawford in 1991.
Photo: MTV

If you’re too young to remember House of Style, you may not remember the fashion news show Style with Elsa Klensch that ran on CNN from 1980-2001. Elsa Klensch was this awesome native Australian with a somewhat severe countenance and blunt bangs. She loved a bold blazer with a statement necklace and delivered the goings on within the industry with a gravitas that allowed fashion coverage to appear completely at home on a news channel. She had a fashion media pedigree that was rigorous, with editorial stints at Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and Harper’s Bazaar. In many ways, Elsa legitimized high fashion and made it “high brow.”

And that’s exactly why House of Style had to exist. We all loved Style… on CNN and even Canada’s Fashion Television (with the formidable Jeanne Beker) but intellectualizing the narrative behind fashion can make an already inaccessible industry seem even more daunting despite the plain fact that every single one of us wears clothes. Young people who couldn’t pronounce haute couture let alone afford it needed an accessible, non-judgey place to learn about self-expression and experimentation and that’s where MTV came in.

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house of style

Photo: MTV

As promised, today marks the launch date of our documentary, House of Style: Music, Models, and MTV, commemorating the return of the fashion news show. Sure, we created an exhaustive archive outlining all the episodes we were able to clear from the original 1989-2002 run, but we also wanted to create a package of what the show intended to do, why it was gobsmackingly prescient for the time, and how the thematic throughlines remain relevant today.

The 22-minute short serves as part oral history, with interviews from producers like Alisa Bellettini, Dave Sirulnick and Chad Hines. They talk about what they’d intended to do with the new show, what it was like spearheading one of the cable network’s first forays into non-music programming, and how a supermodel host combined with the floodlight of MTV’s reach helped transmogrify the fashion industry into pop culture.

The doc also includes new interviews with Anna Sui, Todd Oldham, and Cynthia Rowley, designers who occasionally served as hosts and were heavily involved while learning broadcast media on the fly. And of course, the round out would be incomplete without our hosts Rebecca Romijn and the unforgettable Cindy Crawford about what is was like for models to be granted the chance to talk and show their personalities.

There are a great many anecdotes about how fast, bootleg and hilarious it was cobbling certain segments together (resident DIY warlock and master of goodwill Todd Oldham recounts a funny story of Crawford’s side-eye regarding a hacked-up combat boot) but the interesting thing about this retrospective is that we can now view the show through the lens of time and it’s genuinely startling to consider its foresight. This time capsule is not some cobweb-riddled nostalgia trap filled with sticky, petrified butterscotch discs and doilies, there are genuine cultural milestones and benchmarks that we’re simply grateful to have rediscovered.

We also talk with contemporary designers like Christian Siriano, Jeremy Scott (who remembers House of Style as his umbilical chord to the fashion world when he was GROWING UP ON A FARM, a literal farm, not a raw food SoulCycle ashram or similar), Charlotte Ronson, as well as models Coco Rocha and Karlie Kloss as to the resonance of the show. And the symbiotic relationship between music and fashion with artists like Simon LeBon and John Taylor from Duran Duran (!!!), Theophilus London, Rita Ora and Azealia Banks.

If you could believe such a thing, the MTV House of Style team has spent the entire weekend emailing each other on whether or not we should include an Oxford comma in the title of the doc. That, ladies and germs, is the level of crazypants dedication applied to our short so you best (as in, pleasepleaseplease) recognize.

Special S/O also goes out to Reed Morano our sick-ass DP who was the cinematographer on that one LCD Soundsystem doc, Shut Up and Play The Hits, Nicola Darrach our very sleep-deprived director and the homie Nate Ford who has been editing this badboy for a duration that seems to have aged him significantly in the face and hair. We hope you enjoy it.

+ HOUSE OF STYLE: MUSIC, MODELS, AND MTV


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sofia coppola spike jonze

Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze at the X-Girl streetwear fashion show in 1994.
Photo: MTV

The late-’80s and ’90s gave a lot of look. Some good. Some tragic. We had Cross Colours, baby barrettes, metal lunchboxes used as purses, over-plucked eyebrows, all-velvet-everything, crochet, chokers, clogs, Contempo Casuals, JNCO, Chanel in pastel terry cloth—it was a crazy time.

No matter what you wore, who you aspired to wear or just how many sartorial regrets you have, one thing was certain—it was a celebration of experimentation and personal style.

Now, I realize that my statement is skewed by my having been a child during the period. Someone who was susceptible to things like blue hair dye, small T-shirts, large trousers, and a brief flirtation with thinking tongue rings were cool. But the resonance of the years can’t be denied in terms of what it meant for street style.

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linda evangelista cindy crawford naomi campbell christy turlington

Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington in the Gianni Versace fashion show, 1991.
Photo: Maria Valentino/ MCV Photo

Once upon a time, let’s call it the ’90s, a handful of women ruled the world. They were called supermodels and you couldn’t swivel your head without colliding into an image of one or more of these bodacious babes. The supermodel industrial complex was some kind of powerful—billboards, magazine covers, cosmetics and fragrance campaigns—it seemed like this tight-knit clique and their logo-like faces dominated every inch of American and International advertising real estate. They made millions.

While it’s undisputed that these girls were successful, there’s heated debate surrounding what constitutes a supermodel. Does Beverly Johnson? What about Janice Dickinson? Gia Carangi? Jean Shrimpton? For us, we’re talking about the “It” girls of the decade— Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Helena Christensen. And even then the circle gets a bit elliptical, extending to include Claudia Schiffer, Nadja Auermann, Eva Herzigova, Veronica Webb, Stephanie Seymour, Yasmeen Ghauri, Carla Bruni, and Yasmin Le Bon—depending on the occasion. Whatever permutation of names you ascribe to, one thing’s certain, the supermodel era was a fascinating, outrageous and wholly unique time that’s never been replicated since.

Honestly, I can’t remember a time when Cindy, Naomi, Linda, Christy, Claudia and Helena weren’t famous. Just as some of you are too young to remember just how big deal these girls were. But if you look at the very first House of Style that aired in the summer of 1989, you’ll notice two things. One, Cindy Crawford was beautiful. Two, Cindy Crawford was breathtakingly young. To wit: Cindy Crawford was not yet Cindy Crawford.

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Model and 'House Of Style' host Cindy Crawford.
Photo: MTV

I can’t believe this is finally happening! House of Style is back! If your face is frozen in an enthusiastic smile but it's otherwise *crickets* in your head because you have ZERO frame of reference, House of Style was a show on MTV that chronicled the fashion industry from 1989 to 2002 in 72 episodes. And holy crap if it didn’t just about break my brain to get to this incredible moment.

Thing is, when you work at MTV Style, the number one question you get is: "What's up with House of Style?" The show was frickin' legendary. I could watch it on a loop and it was actually what first enticed me to take a job here. All I wanted to talk about with my boss over multiple bottles of wine and exhaustive notes was how to bring it back. So yeah, we're bringing it back.

We're developing a new version of the show because we strongly believe that a show like ours can thrive in the current media climate but there was no way we would dream of developing something without understanding what made the original series so remarkable. We dove deep—really, really deep—into the archive so that we could learn. And also, to see what we could unearth to share with you since even the most ardent fans could use the reminder.

The House of Style excavation squad did our very best to reissue as many clips as we could. We tried to preserve everything of importance and that’s how we ended up with the approximately 170 clips that we’re launching today from the original series. You can browse by season and by name (designer, artist or host) to read my write-ups for each segment (yup, THIS is where I’ve been the last six months) contextualizing what was going on in the fashion world at the time or you can daisy-chain the videos (without my blathering).

naomi campbell

Fashion Week with Naomi Campbell in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Look, we know that it may not be as satisfying as sitting down to binge-watch the entire thing to the dome, episodes intact, but have you ever noticed how there are, like, zero old episodes living anywhere on the internet? There are tiny smatterings here and there but for the most part the information superhighway is scrubbed clean because back in the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, pre-Internet, the rules were different. Had we put everything online now, with all the original music, we would surely unleash some sort of legal chaos.

We cleared absolutely everything we could but I didn't know how this would go down. I honestly thought some dude in suspenders on the millionth floor could stamp a piece of paper with a big, red, “sure!” and all of the old episodes could be strung up and blasted into the internet with one of those T-shirt canons that they have at concerts and sporting events. This is because I am not a lawyer or a television producer.

Long story long, we did our best and it was pretty damned good and we’re thrilled to share these gems with you.

Liiiiiiiiike, going to the mall with The Spice Girls (I KNOW). There’s footage of a still husky Karl Lagerfeld (circa sunnies + fan) and a svelte Andre Leon Talley. We have artist Stephen Sprouse's glorious and weird return to fashion. A rare interview with Franco Moschino, a sit-down with Galliano, quotables from Alexander McQueen and words of wisdom from Gianni Versace. We even have clips from the X-Girl renegade street fashion show that Sofia Coppola and then boyfriend Spike Jonze produced. So major.

sofia coppola spike jonze

Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze at the X-Girl fashion show in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Todd Oldham taught us how to dye our hair with Kool Aid in his ingenious “Todd Time” segments and Kevyn Aucoin instructed us on how to over-pluck our brows ‘90s style. Cindy becomes the face of Pepsi, Rebecca Romijn stuffs her bikini bottoms with socks, Jon Stewart tries to mack on Kate Moss backstage at Calvin Klein. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Naomi Campbell inviting us into her bedroom to watch her apply zit cream to her face. It's unreal and sweet, especially since she tells us that nobody cares if you have "spots" because everybody has them. Can. You. EVEN?

We're also running three essays that encapsulate themes from the show. "Rise Of The Supermodels" is our first. It launches today and discusses the '90s in terms of what it was about the decade that made this mega-clique of powerful women transcend fashion to become pop culture icons. The second essay, which you'll find next Wednesday (August 1st) is the influence of music on youth culture and street style (hello grunge), with the final essay that will launch a week after that discussing how fashion became democratized with the Internet, social networking and DIY instructional videos on YouTube. It's a good read if you're not interested in deep-diving into the more pedantic, nerd-out aspects of my write-ups.

We've also got a documentary short coming out on August 7th describing what the show was all about that includes interviews with former hosts Cindy Crawford, Daisy Fuentes, Rebecca Romijn; models Coco Rocha, Karlie Kloss; designers Cynthia Rowley, Todd Oldham, Anna Sui, Jeremy Scott and the next generation of fashion muses like Theophilus London, Azealia Banks and Rita Ora. You should totally check it out.

todd oldham

Designer and 'House Of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham.
Photo: MTV

And, finally, you should know that there's a trove of unedited, NEVER BEFORE SEEN, footage that we'll be releasing over the next several weeks. Candid interviews with Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace. You're going to have to wait for that complete list but it's wonderful because everyone is young and says exactly what's on their mind, away from the prying eyes and teeth-sucking of celebrity handlers, managers, publicists and the ilk. Pure, unfiltered FASHION HONESTY.

However you choose to navigate the episodes, we hope you check out what we’ve brought you from MTV’s fashion time capsule. We're calling it the "House of Style Collection" because it sounds fancy and would totally have a black label. If there’s anything you’d like to add or correct please feel free to email me because I’ve felt completely insane in this rabbit hole of remembrances and would love the dialogue. Turns out, top secret projects are crazy-making but very rewarding. Enjoy.


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Rita Ora

Rita Ora wears skullcap by The Hundreds; jacket by Moschino, vintage; silk crop top by Pavonine; shorts by Joy Rich; custom shoes by Bess NYC; necklaces and watch are Rita's own; bangle by Laruicci; double ring by Materia Prima.
Photo: Marley Kate

In the 10-plus years that I’ve been working with musicians, nothing beats that crackle of atmospheric electricity when an artist is about to blow up. You can feel it. Rita Ora is poised for something major. She’s already a sure thing in the U.K. where she’s had two #1 hits in “R.I.P.” and "Hot Right Now," a track she's featured on with DJ Fresh, but what with being our Push Artist of the Week and Jay-Z spouting glowing things about her energy and talent it looks like this vivacious Londoner (by way of Kosovo) will be unstoppable here, too.

You can imagine how psyched we were when she accepted our invitation to play dress up for a fashion editorial and video because she’s totally normal to hang out with and gives great face. Plus, maybe has the BEST hair. Never mind that she commemorated her visit stateside with $100 bill nails courtesy of Rebecca Black in London.

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8:53 PM - HA HA. POST SCRIPT! Apparently K. Stew already stepped out of her Loubou Pigalles and into sneakers. <3 <3

8:52 PM - Perfect way to cap off our red carpet live blog! Show's about to start! Stay tuned for our top dresses and trends from the night.

Movie Awards 2012

Kristen Stewart at the 2012 Movie Awards red carpet.
Photo: Getty Images

8:41 PM - Kristen Stewart is HEEEEEEEEEEERE! In a silver Guishem dress. Perfectly mussed hair.

Movie Awards 2012

Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose at the 2012 Movie Awards red carpet.
Photo: Getty Images

8:35 PM - Wiz and Amber! Amber in head to toe mint green and Wiz in a denim jacket and tee.

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Selena Gomez, Hailee Sternfeld, and Kristen Stewart worked it out on the 2011 Movie Awards red carpet.
Photo: Getty

HAHAHAHHAHA. Ugh. You know that thing where you hear your own voice and it’s octaves deeper and scads more alien-sounding than you suspected even with the allotted margin of error because you know that it’s a thing? Seeing yourself in video is that times a million. So gross! Whose bloated, animatronic, pie-face is this exactly? Also, who decided to go out the night before and eat all the sodium in the world and quaff entirely too much carbonated alcohol despite knowing they had on-camera duties the morning after? GAH. So yeah, ignore the looming, foreboding forehead but do listen to the words because we are talking MTV Movie Awards red carpet fashion.

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We remember Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch.
Photo: Getty Images

It is the end of the era. That Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died today of cancer at the heartbreaking age of 47 is awful news. I’ve read a slew of obituaries and tributes and revisited interviews with the Beasties over the last 25 years and the photos alone are devastating. These guys were such weirdos. Seriously, the swag with which they gave not one shit between them is captivating and wildly empowering. Chromeo tweeted (and I love that A-Trak RT’d it because I know the brothers Macklovitch held the Beastie Boys in high regard and likely discovered them together [or in that order]):

Here’s the thing. I recognize that it’s often inelegant to look to something as inert as clothing or shoes when remembering someone who created decades worth of invaluable art but the significance of their role in how kids use style to signal their fealty to what they loved and what music resonated with them is vital. It’s important to every kid I grew up with while working in New York and has had a hand in how most of us chose our careers. I very much believe it’s what gave me a pass to work at a graffiti magazine as an Korean chick who was born on the other side of the world. Just as it relieved unholy sheepishness or debilitating self-consciousness when I went to work at a rap magazine years later. It's weird but MCA’s death makes you reflect on what the Beasties personally meant to us.

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About This Blog

MTV Style follows how people express themselves through fashion and beauty, from our favorite pop culture icons to you, the reader. We cover the fun, loud side of the industry with news, trends, interviews, videos, and more — MTV Style is fashion at full volume.

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Featured Comment

I love these two as a couple. What a festive way to celebrate two important events in their life. Mariah looks like a dream.

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