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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford and 'Harper's Bazaar' Fashion Editor Evyan Metzner at Paris Fashion Week in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 27
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 11/24/93
Appearances: Helena Christensen, Richard Gere, Christian LaCroix, Amber Valletta, John Galliano, Max Vadukul

DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY BECOMES AN EDITOR

If you ever wanted to see Cindy in a pantsuit, this would be the time. In this segment, Cindy attends Paris Fashion Week with Evyan Metzner, fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. For the first show, Cindy shadows Evyan — who, during a typical fashion week, will attend 8-10 shows a day. Her schedule is an intricate grid that begins at 8:30 AM and often doesn’t end until 11 at night. Having previously learned what a typical fashion show at Paris costs and what it’s like backstage, this time we learn about the specific responsibilities of a fashion editor.

First of all, we learn all about the front row, and the unwritten politics of who gets to sit where. Remember, this too is way before the advent of the internet where the placement politics weren't common knowledge. We learn that well-connected editors, and buyers with large, important accounts, get to sit in front, along with celebrities and the models’ rock star husbands. Then, there’s the issue of a sketchbook. Long before the Instagram feeding frenzy and live-tweeted descriptions from every single attendee, you had to draw quick outlines so that you could remember trends as they developed over the week. A great example here is a shirt cropped so short that it reveals lower-boob cleavage (or “neathage,” as some of us call it). Cindy and Evyan go backstage to congratulate Christian Lacroix and conduct a quick interview.

For her second stint as fashion editor, Cindy goes solo, and we’re invited into her Parisian hotel bathroom to watch her get ready. It is here that we learn two important things: that there’s a travel blow dryer attachment that’s like one of those old-fashioned dryers that housewives from the ’50s would sit under to set their hair; and what Richard Gere looks like in a hotel robe. At one point, he even holds a boom mic. Cindy gets into another trouser suit, a choker, and lace-up boots, and this time Cindy mentions having felt a pang of envy at being on the other side of the runway, because Helena looked so beautiful walking down it.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AS AN EDITOR

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: AMBER VALLETTA

Amber Valletta

Model Amber Valletta in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Kate Moss wasn’t the only model who signaled the arrival of a new era of beauty. Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta were a couple of the other “New Girls” anointed by the rainmaking photographers and editors. There was definitely a year in my childhood when Amber or Shalom or Amber and Shalom dominated most of the American Vogue covers. There’s a regal, expensive quality about Amber, like she was born in Monaco and attended regattas and races as a small child while learning 11 languages. Despite her bearing, Amber started out in Tulsa, Oklahoma at age 15; four years from the time of this interview. She mentions that she had to take a class when she started out, and that her walk was awful and ungainly. She was considered too awkward and too athletic in her modeling class, but it’s her boyish physique and innocent, wide-set eyes that made her an important face in the dreamy, grunge movement typified by Kate Moss.

Amber mentions being a peaceful person who prioritizes happiness; her humility doesn’t seem insincere, but it does seem somewhat practiced. Amber reads slightly media-trained in a way that neither the supermodels nor Kate Moss displayed, which also reminds us that the job of being a model has changed. This feels like the beginning of the trend when all models parroted the party line of having been an “ugly duckling” or a “tomboy” as a part of their origin mythology. This pre-packaged story and the distortion of the paparazzi lens would signal the beginning of the end of the candid interviews we’d previously enjoyed from the personalities involved in the modeling industry. At this point, MTV had ushered in the era of reality television with the first two seasons of The Real World. Non-actors became more aware of how they were being portrayed on camera and expected to have to talk about themselves. Unlike Cindy, for whom "having a voice" was a new experience, Amber anticipates interviews as part of the job of being a model and celebrity. You can feel this shift in the level of preparedness. Sadly, with this new type of access, we'd lose a lot of the authenticity. Basically, this person saying she's "peaceful" is the sound of a million publicists cashing checks.

+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA

DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TODD OLDHAM INTERVIEWS ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO

todd oldham john galliano

'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham interviews designer John Galliano in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Todd hits Paris too, which blessedly means designer-on-designer interviews—a format, and a specific kind of chemistry, that we’ve yet to enjoy in the show. First off is Andre Walker, a downtown New York darling who held his first show at age 15 in a Brooklyn nightclub called Oasis. He worked with Willi Smith (the designer who famously created the gown Mary Jane Watson wore to marry Peter Parker in the 1987 Spiderman comic) after dropping out of high school. His fall 1993 showcase, entitled “Someone I’m In Love With Then,” is a mixture of surprisingly wearable cotton sportswear with off-kilter cuts and details.

The gathered and ballooned skirts are gorgeously cut, and despite zany stunts — like a dress called the “Nude Housewife,” with a back cut so low that it threatens to expose butt crack (and considering the bum cleavage made famous by Alexander McQueen, this is all excellent territory) — there’s an unmistakable calculation in the execution. Everything falls exactly as the designer intended. Andre says things like, “I knew [The Nude Housewife dress] was gross, but I had to take that risk. Tomorrow is gonna be grosser than today. ‘Go grosser’ is the motto of the season.” He also describes the silhouettes as “corny,” but the deliberately vague and distracting language does nothing to detract from the clothes or the fact that his flannel shirt is actually cut precisely to show an empire waist only from certain angles. Todd is smitten. Andre has since created a magazine called This Is What It Made Us Think About that’s sold exclusively in select boutiques. The first issue sold for $375. Another fashion tidbit that’s just as priceless? Andre worked closely with Marc Jacobs for a decade, until Marc fired him. Via text message. The two remain friends.

Despite the recent hullabaloo surrounding Galliano’s drunken rants and his subsequent displacement at Dior, in 1993, the designer was at the absolute peak of his career. There’s an elaborate fashion story behind this collection that follows an 1860s princess named Lucretia, who is banished while wearing enormous skirts and ringlet pigtails and shirts that are falling to pieces. She then somehow ends up in the Scottish highlands wearing jaunty, meticulously shrunken hats and hiked-up skirts because she’s met the “dotty duke” and “dotty duchess,” who ply her with gambling and gin. Of course, Lucretia then meets her prince and marries him, but this is like watching a porn with a backstory because the narrative does nothing other than to create a vehicle for the breathtaking breadth and depth of Galliano’s vision and talent.

Todd remarks how difficult it is to cut and sew pieces on the bias as Galliano does, and as difficult as it is to create volume for the 1860s period and then to hike it all up for the highlands, the real nut is how John Galliano creates everything at an angle. His slinky, silky, weightless dresses for the wedding scene are a miracle. And that he makes a see-through panel of scalloped edges in tissue-thin fabric, with pieces cut and sewn sideways to move and hug the topography of the female form, is unparalleled. Pun intended.

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM WITH ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY’S ITALIAN 'VOGUE' SHOOT WITH MAX VADUKUL

cindy crawford

Photographer Max Vadukul shoots Cindy Crawford for Italian 'Vogue' in 1993.
Photo: MTV

This could have been just another segment where we trail Cindy to the set of a magazine shoot, but this is about getting to see Max Vadukul’s unusual technique. Despite having worked multiple times with Max, the esteemed former staff photographer for The New Yorker, Cindy seems shy here. She clearly doesn’t know what to expect, and the editorial has Cindy completely stripped down, with unfussy, flattened hair and minimal makeup, so she seems particularly exposed.

Max — who is also known for shooting black-and-white Yohji Yamamoto ad campaigns — has a tiny mustache, circular glasses and a calm disposition. He takes complete advantage of Cindy’s rare vulnerability by asking her a series of disquieting questions to evoke new expressions. He asks how she’d feel if she discovered her husband in bed with another woman. He then asks her to leap and to show him her feet while closing way in to ask how she’d feel if she found out she was having triplets. There’s constant movement and you can tell that Cindy doesn’t quite know what she looks like. It’s refreshing to see her have to work for it. Because the questions and emotions require her to act, we see a new self-consciousness from our now familiar House of Style host, and a new facet of what it’s like on the set of this particular photographer’s shoot.

+ WATCH MAX VADUKUL AND CINDY CRAWFORD

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 27

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford goes backstage to find out what models think of posing nude in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Season: 6 Episode: 31
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 6/9/94
Appearances: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Calvin Klein, Manon Rhéaume, Kim Gordon, Daisy Von Furth, Sofia Coppola, Spike Jonze

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: THE NUDITY DEBATE

Fashion is one thing, but for this segment House Of Style interviews Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Niki Taylor on the subject of modeling nothing: in other words, posing nude. Of the models, Niki is the only one who opts out of nudity entirely: “My body’s for my man.” Cindy talks about her decision to do Playboy because it exposes her to a new audience that may not read fashion magazines (but who obviously get Playboy for the articles). Kate talks about the appeal of her Obsession ads, with Calvin Klein chiming in to comment on the sensual nature of perfume and how challenging it can be to sell a feeling. He believes the Obsession ads are compelling not just for the nudity, but for the expression on Kate Moss’s face.

Many of the models agree that your relationship with the photographer — and the resulting level of confidence and comfort — is a huge part of why they’d choose to do nude campaigns or editorial; they appear genuinely confused about the backlash. A nude Allure cover image got the magazine banned in some parts of California, and Helena’s topless campaign for Express Jeans led to some store boycotts. Stephanie Seymour sizes up the experience best when she equates nude photos with getting a tattoo: It’s permanent, and can haunt you forever, so you have to take your time to do it right, make sure you’re protected and ensure that the photos are done in good taste.

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: KEVIN MANCUSO'S HAIR TIPS

kevin mancuso

Summer hairstyles by hairstylist Kevin Mancuso in 1994.
Photo: MTV

To be a teen in the ’90s is to know what it’s like to have a ridiculous hairstyle (or a series of them). It was the era of tiny hair barrettes, over-complicated pigtails, white-girl dreads and French twists. In this how-to hair segment, we have celebrity stylist Kevin Mancuso (trusted stylist to Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift in Central Park, displaying the bemusing summer up-dos that were all the rage in 1994. One liberally employs brightly-colored pipe cleaners. Another involves tiny Björk-style rave twists piled on the crown of the head with ends hanging down to create a fringe. Then there’s the repeated teasing and spraying that felts sections of hair into loose dreadlocks. Finally, there’s a side-parted, gelled, sleek look, with a wee pompadour for a rock-hard coif.

+ WATCH KEVIN MANCUSO ON SUMMER HAIR

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: MANON RHÉAUME, THE FIRST LADY OF HOCKEY, MODELS

manon rheaume

Professional female hockey player Manon Rhéaume in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Applying what the boys of Dirt magazine did in their fashion editorial, here we use clothing to call attention to someone regular House of Style viewers may not be familiar with. Manon Rhéaume was the first lady of hockey. A Quebec native, she started skating at 3, and was the first woman to sign to a professional team in 1992 when she joined the Tampa Bay Lightning. She’s the OG Roller Derby Girl and famously turned down an offer to pose nude in Playboy. She also happens to be beautiful.

Here, Manon models Patricia Field and Antique Boutique on the ice. There are metallic jackets with leggings; tiny denim shorts and shrunken shirts; mini-skirts and pigtails. The infantilizing (or “kinderwhore”) trend that was huge in the ’90s is kinda a buzzkill, since Rhéaume’s strong and talented, and the costume changes are interspersed with interviews with her male teammates, talking about her incredible capability and athleticism. In one portion, Rhéaume’s skating around eating a soft-serve ice cream cone, and it looks sort of porn-y. But then she takes a spill and lands on her ass in the changing room, cracking up riotously over the splat of ice cream on the floor, which makes you fall right back in love with her.

+ WATCH MANON RHÉAUME

STREET STYLE: X-GIRL FASHION SHOW

sofia coppola spike jonze

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

X-Girl is the sister line to the X-Large brand, and to commemorate the launch of the collection designed by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and stylist Daisy von Furth, the crew throw a renegade fashion show on Wooster Street, across from Marc Jacobs’s show, produced by indie darlings Sofia Coppola and then-boyfriend Spike Jonze. It is an unspeakably cool gambit: There’s a white sheet spray painted with the logo strung up in the background, and a milling crowd comprised of the likes of Zoe Cassavetes, Donovan Leitch, Francis Ford Coppola, The Beastie Boys, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., and My So-Called Life Christmas ghost Juliana Hatfield. Once the Marc Jacobs show lets out, Steven Meisel, Anna Sui, Bill Cunningham, Linda Evangelista and Linda’s then-boyfriend actor Kyle MacLachlan join the others. Actress Ione Skye (then married to Adam Horovitz) models, as does downtown “It” girl Chloë Sevigny. The director Mike Mills designed the X-Girl logo, and most of the clothes resemble thrifted sportswear pieces. There are carefully cut T-shirts that are inspired by deadstock football jerseys, tennis shirts, and ringer tees (a.k.a. the “uniform for indie rockers”). The two founding designers and Chloë Sevigny were the fit models, so the clothes run small, but the focus of the abbreviated clothes is not on being conventionally sexy. The A-line silhouette of the mini-skirts and thigh-skimming dresses was intended to be flattering, but Gordon and von Furth’s design philosophy eschewed lycra because it was too clingy. Built by Wendy's Wendy Mullin also worked on several of the first collections. She has a scrapbook on her site that recounts some of those early days, and she reminisces on how Kurt Cobain's death had happened so close to the show that it cast a pall over the excitement in the hours leading up to the event.

It’s interesting to note that a lot of the more mall-ready clothes of the era, from Judy’s to Contempo Casuals, featured a lot of slippery, tight near-100% lycra compositions for their baby dolls. X-Girl was more about architectural construction: The short-sleeved, crew-neck dresses were cut narrow but not tight, in order to graze the body without confining it. It was a nod to the crispness of mod, as was the choice for all the models to wear flats. Von Furth also makes sure to note that their trousers are low-slung and intended for the skater girl who does not have to relegate herself to wearing oversized boy’s pants that are not made for her physique. The stove-pipe leg is carried throughout, but with a low-slung, tighter fit around a waist with a flattering, thick band. Gordon is notably 7 months pregnant with a daughter she says she hopes is a riot grrl.

X-Girl was important because it was cool enough to be exclusive and fetch a hefty, limited-edition price tag, but none of the pieces ran north of $60 — a fact that was important to von Furth, who says that most of her peers buy their clothes at vintage stores. She is an obvious fashion and construction nerd, rattling off the exact years the clothes evoke; her deceptively simple design features contributed significantly to the line’s popularity.

X-Girl stores have closed since the production of this segment, though the label still exists in Japan. A collaboration with Nike Sportswear was only available in Japan; there have also been collaborations with various bag brands. Two years after this show, von Furth is quoted in Vice about her styling work on a recent story in Dirt: “There was this cute kid named Mark Ronson [ed note: !!!!!] and it was about the lost generation of 1978… Alligator shirts and puffy down jackets and Rod Lavers.” Kim Gordon continues to work in fashion as well, and collaborated with Surface to Air in 2012. But this segment in 1994 is a huge moment in terms of the way mainstream fashion is being upstaged by streetwear, and how the power dynamic has shifted from the runway to the cool kids downtown. At one point, Sofia points out, somewhat facetiously, “You too can have a fashion show.” The words are enormously prophetic.

+ WATCH X-GIRL FASHION SHOW

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 31

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cindy crawford tracey ullman

Cindy Crawford plays dress-up with comedian Tracey Ullman at The Plaza Hotel in New York City in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 6 Episode: 32
Title: Fifth Anniversary Special
Original Airdate: 7/19/94
Includes segments from:

  • Cindy Crawford And Tracey Ullman Play Dress Up (Episode 5)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Vogue Shoot With Helmut Newton In Monte Carlo (Episode 10)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Calvin Klein's Advertising Campaign (Episode 10)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Linda Evangelista Model Profile (Episode 12)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Todd Oldham Refurbishes On A Budget (Episode 16)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • How To Pluck Your Eyebrows (Episode 18)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Kate Moss Model Profile (Episode 19)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Eve Salvail Model Profile (Episode 22)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Carol Shaw's Makeup Tips (Episode 25)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Italian Vogue Shoot With Max Vadukul (Episode 27)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Amber Valletta Model Profile (Episode 27)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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linda evangelista

Model Linda Evangelista in Chanel at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 38
Title: Best Of Edition (March Model Madness)
Original Airdate: 3/14/95
Includes segments from:

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carolyn murphy

Model Carolyn Murphy on the runway in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 46
Title: January Edition
Original Airdate: 1/29/96
Appearances: Carolyn Murphy, Spacehog, Lauren Martinez and Anne Christensen ('Vogue')

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: CAROLYN MURPHY

This shouldn’t be taken as an invective against Carolyn Murphy’s character but this interview kinda bums me out. The model is extremely versatile, and both Joe Zee (then associate fashion editor at W) and makeup artist Laura Mercier mention in voiceovers that a large part of her magic is that you can do anything with her. They praise her look for essentially being a blank canvas. Carolyn Murphy is beautiful, and I like her hair and the throwback Prada spring 1996 suiting that she’s wearing here. I even like her print campaign from the season, as I do all of the ads she appeared in for Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Estee Lauder, Tiffany & Co., Calvin Klein and Max Mara over the years.

The issue is that I don't love her. Her face is hard to read. I believe that she was a tomboy as she recounts in our interview, but I don’t believe her older brother gives her swirlies on her visits home. The expectations for what models say in mainstream broadcast interviews are very much established at this point, and even though you feel Todd's warmth there’s nothing in this interview that feels special or revealing. I miss Naomi in zit cream talking about her future husband.

+ WATCH CAROLYN MURPHY


MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING WITH SPACEHOG

spacehog

Brothers Royston and Antony Langdon of Spacehog at Smilin' Nylon in New York City in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Most of what I know about Spacehog comes from Liv Tyler's five year-marriage to bass player and singer Royston Langdon. That said, this segment is charming. There isn’t too much of a service element, since it’s basically about a bunch of English dudes riffing on clothes they’re obviously not keen on wearing for real, but the camaraderie is entertaining, and we get to look at some great New York stores when W. 8th Street was a whole different story, before NYU set on it like a boa constrictor swallowing an egg. Here we have Antony Langdon, Jonny Cragg, the aforementioned Royston and Richard Steel at a now defunct store called Smiling Nylon and The Eye, an aptly named eyeglasses boutique. It is a romp through “very lurid,” gender-bendy, flammable clothing and bug-eyed sunglasses.

+ WATCH SPACEHOGS SHOPPING


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: RAIDING THE 'VOGUE' FASHION CLOSET

anne christensen lauren martinez

'Vogue' Fashion Editor Anne Christensen and Senior Market Editor Lauren Martinez in the 'Vogue' fashion closet in 1996.
Photo: MTV

OK, this is not the fashion closet of Ugly Betty’s Mode magazine. Nor is this the well-lit, rack-filled paradise in a fantasy Vogue that pays Carrie Bradshaw $5/word. This is the real-life Vogue closet (before such closet tours were everywhere on the internet and demanded that all your sneakers be color-coordinated in tidy cubbies… ahem, GQ) and the tour is conducted by the lovely Anne Christensen (presently the Executive Fashion Director at Glamour) and Lauren Martinez (who, in a particularly fashiony move would go on to marry a Dupont [of the textile magnate Duponts]). The lighting is suboptimal and there are moments when the room is reminiscent of a grandparent’s attic, but we do get a lovely look at the mixed prints, shrunken sweaters, dyed leathers and retro colors that were huge in spring 1996.

Speaking of grandparents’ attics, many of the clothes harken back to the browns, moss greens and burnt oranges of the polyester housedresses and retro kitchen appliances ubiquitous in previous decades, and it’s interesting to see how the runway shows of the year are celebrating clothes that look thrifted and are mismatched. Spring 1996 fashion in a nutshell? The ouroboros of a Vogue editor wearing a beautiful Prada coat that looks like it came from a charity shop advising us on how to thrift a similar look. Where is Todd Oldham when you need him?

+ WATCH THE 'VOGUE' CLOSET


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TOM FORD KILLS IT AT GUCCI

tom ford gucci

Model Linda Evangelista in Gucci by Tom Ford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

As a huge Madonna fan, I was absolutely blown away by how incredible she looked at the 1995 VMAs, when she rocked up to the stage in a satin turquoise Gucci blouse unbuttoned to reveal a sheer bra, and low-slung black trousers, with her blonde hair pouffed and pinned in a half pony. It was fashion magic. Tom Ford had been hired as the Creative Director for Gucci in 1994, and during his first several seasons, he was a beast who seemed to know exactly what type of sexiness we wanted from the then somewhat fusty Italian fashion brand and leather goods label.

Ford came out of the gate hard, channeling the enthusiasm for retro-chic with slightly belled sleeves on micro-mini dresses; sumptuous fabrics like satin and burnout velvet; and wickedly cut trousers. THe knew that a wrapped leather cord that resembled a bolo would look cool and ease us out of our choker rut and injected real glamour back into the house during a time when everyone else was doing quirk. His ads, styled by Carine Roitfeld and shot by Mario Testino, were impeccable, and between 1995 and 1996, the company’s sales increased by 90%.

This runway footage is a continuation of an aesthetic and attitude that Tom Ford mastered during his tenure at the label.

+ WATCH TOM FORD FOR GUCCI


MUSIC AND FASHION: THE FIRST FASHIONABLY LOUD

shalom harlow

Model Shalom Harlow walks in the first Fashionably Loud in 1996.
Photo: MTV

The marriage of music and fashion culminates in the first “Fashionably Loud” that aired in February, 1996. This clip is regrettably brief because of various licensing issues but we thought we’d at least give you a quick glimpse if for no other reason than to see Brandy Norwood walk a runway. It was an-hour long MTV show and for this inaugural event, Chris Isaak hosted. There were models galore with Cindy, Shalom, Amber,Helena, Kate, Linda, Naomi as well as musician-turned-model Debbie Harry. Milla Jovovich our stunning special correspondent pulled double duty to walk and interview audience members.

The designing lineup was just as stellar with collections from Marc Jacobs, Todd Oldham and Anna Sui. The models walked in time to live performances from Coolio, Filter and Elastica (MAJOR girlcrush on Justine Frischmann [ed note: UM, remember when she dated Brett Anderson and founded Suede and then dated Damon Albarn from Blur and inspired a GRIP of music and then co-wrote Arular with her roomie M.I.A? No? Learn about it. Stat.). Totally going to go off and listen to “Connection” right now. That guitar riff is EVERYTHING.

+ WATCH FASHIONABLY LOUD


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 46

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shalom harlow amber valletta

New hosts Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in Episode 47 of 'House of Style' in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 47
Title: March Edition
Original Airdate: 3/11/96
Appearances: Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto)

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: OUR NEW HOSTS, SHALOM AND AMBER

There was a time in fashion when Shalom and Amber were a model crew unto themselves. They didn’t just pal around, they appeared on magazine covers together and even tag-teamed hosting duties for our show. And, of course, true to House of Style form, we figured the quickest way to get to know them was to rummage through their closets.They show us thrifted suits, Pucci skirts, Vivienne Westwood summer dresses and fur slippers, and introduce the uninitiated among us to the concept of deconstructed hems.

The best part is watching Amber and Shalom interact with each other. They’re huge nerds. Amber is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has an easygoing, gangly way about her. She has bleach stains all over her favorite rock radio promo tee from home. Shalom reminds us with every vowel-heavy word that she’s SO Canadian. The way she pronounces “outfit” is incredibly endearing, and she repeats it enough that it could inspire a drinking game. It reminds us of how formal and nervous Cindy was before she became poised and comfortable, and the sign-off where Amber and Shalom say the salutation in tandem is exactly the corny thing Cindy would’ve objected to by the end of her tenure. It’s exciting to have these gorgeous yet oddly relatable girls at the helm.

+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA AND SHALOM HARLOW


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

things that are cool

Things That Are Cool in 1996: Street Style Edition.
Photo: MTV

In an effort to be more approachable, instead of showing the best and worst of the runway, House of Style at this stage is starting to do broader market work to include “lifestyle” pieces like art and books. In 1996, we put our stamp of approval on white eyeliner, platform flip flops by Converse, the Taschen Cristo & Jeanne-Claude coffee table book, a photo print dress from Agnès B., hair color by Oribé, a hideous condom wall vase (an unfurled condom, affixed to a wall, that you could put a single bud in), and last but certainly not least guitar straps from Built By Wendy designer Wendy Mullin. These guitar straps were so popular among musicians like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani while Wendy was going to FIT that they ended up spawning a clothing line. While the brick-and-mortar stores have been shuttered over last year and this year in favor of a web store, I remember how crucial it was at the time to have a jewel tone or navy pin-wale corduroy blazer of hers, because it looked great with everything and had lightly puffed and gathered sleeves that were flattering.

Things that suck are somewhat arbitrary. We rail against jelly shoes (remember the jellies with the chunk heels that Guess came out with and everyone ripped off? Everyone’s feet stank all summer), wearing vintage head-to-toe and something called “body glue.” You’ll notice that not a single trend comes from an established fashion house, and that everything is affordable to college kids.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK


MUSIC AND FASHION: EATING OUT WITH CIBO MATTO

cibo matto

Dining out with Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Cibo Matto was a big deal to me because before Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori showed up, the most ubiquitous Asian face in the fashion scene was either Anna Sui or Jenny Shimizu. It was nice to have some musicians in the mix, especially since female indie rockers at the time were so wonderfully kickass and these guys were so musically diverse. Cibo Matto was well ahead of the foodie trend, and their band (the name of which means “crazy food” in Italian) played zany songs on the subject of comestibles, with highly stylized, dreamy, surreal videos to match. Plus, there was rapping. It was refreshing to see them hanging out with Sean Lennon and the rest of the downtown cool kids, especially since they weren’t stereotypically glamorous as Asian pop stars were required to be in their respective countries at the time. Plus, it was awesome that they were both a little ESL, but could still be on MTV eating blueberry knishes at Yonah Schimmel.

For our eating tour, we visit Panna II, a.k.a. that Indian spot in the East Village with Christmas lights strung all over it; Kwanzaa for some West Indian stewed oxtail; the aforementioned knishes (which, according to Miho, taste “nostalgic”); and cheese fondue and elaborate desserts at Aureole. Yuka talks about how the girls’ relationship with food isn’t just a schtick, and that food composition and how a meal is wrapped up is a lot like the components of music. The group would eventually grow to five members (including Mr. Lennon), but would disband in 2001 only to reunite a decade later for a new album.

+ WATCH CIBO MATTO FOOD TOUR


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 47

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jean paul gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier runway at Paris Fashion Week in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 48
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 4/15/96
Appearances: Ann Demeulemeester, Emma Balfour, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jerry Hall, Julien D'Ys, Jean Touitou

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: PARIS FASHION WEEK

A couple of things make this segment extra-special for me: the fact that we have a rare interview with the incomparable Belgian genius Ann Demeulemeester, and that hearing model Emma Balfour speak so eloquently about her sent me into a weird fact-finding mission that led to the discovery that Emma became a poet! It’s not every day you hear from a model who has been compared to Raymond Carver. Seriously.

The F/W 1996 Ann D collection is pretty special. She’s such a master and cuts a mean, lean silhouette with this fantastically somber Antwerpian gravitas, yet there are off-kilter details like asymmetrical sleeves or meandering plackets that deliver tension in this wonderful contrapposto — it's the sort of bound agony you see in Greek sculpture from the Hellenistic period. It's great. This is what Demeulemeester says about the process: “When I start the collections, most of the time I start with a certain movement. So the movement of this collection is that I tried to work on a twisted body.” What? Can you just think about that? It's so insane to think that her point of inspiration is how fabric behaves on a screwy form. It shouldn’t be surprising, since she can command textile to do whatever she wants, but honestly, could she make the terrain any more challenging?

There’s a ton of excellent stuff in this season as a whole. HoS fave Jean Paul Gaultier is going through a sculptural period and is heavily into moving cubes and spheres. There’s this great moment with Jerry Hall, who remarks that she’s modeling as a madwoman who doesn’t realize she’s mad and sounds totally unhinged as she's describing it. From Rifat Ozbek to Romeo Gigli, there are mixed prints, velvet, skinny maxi skirts, sweaters, bright evening suiting, tartan ball gowns and fur stoles; on the beauty side, this is the season of the top-knot, fashion Mohawk, glittery face makeup that appears to have been cried into smears, and dark bars painted over eyes in place of liner.

+ WATCH MODELS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: HAIR TIPS FROM STYLIST JULIEN D'YS

julien d'ys

Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta visit hairstylist Juline D'Ys in Paris in 1996.
Photo: MTV

OK, I had never heard of Julien D’Ys so I didn’t have an appreciation for how wonderful this segment is and just thought it was cool that he invited Shalom and Amber over for some hair tips. Apparently, at the time of this taping, Julien is “one of the most revered hair masters working today.” Julien is the guy who, since 2005, has been doing all the head-dressing at the Costume Institute Exhibition at the Met; he’s also been collaborating with Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons for over two decades, and you know how particular (and brilliant) Rei is. Most recently, you may have seen Julien’s flawless pin curls on Katy Perry’s Old Hollywood transformation for the June 2011 issue of Vanity Fair, but more importantly, Julien is also a photographer, set designer and a painter.

Last year, Julien had his first painting exhibition, and it’s so rad that we get to see all of his canvases from 1996 in his apartment while he teaches Amber how to use tinfoil and molding clay to curl her hair. He then puts wigs on Shalom and shows us how a cut-up piece of panty hose can act like SPANX for her real hair so that everything lies flat under the hair piece. All very cool and 100% applicable to life, but I just really liked the bit where he talked about his paintings because it’s so clear how passionately he feels about being a fine artist. Plus, the part where his blowdryer (and probably all of our camera lights) blows a fuse in his crappy New York apartment is super-relatable as well. That’s the magic of House of Style: You could go from knowing nothing to wanting to hang out with a person based on footage that was shot 16 years ago.

+ WATCH JULIEN D'YS' STUDIO


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A.P.C.'S JEAN TOUITOU'S FASHION PHILOSOPHY

jean touitou

A.P.C. designer Jean Touitou in 1996.
Photo: MTV

On the topic of people I want to hang out with, A.P.C designer Jean Touitou is definitely one of them. Even if he sort of terrifies me. This reminds me so much of the Franco Moschino interview in that he’s so clever, quick and controversial that you can never tell if he’s mocking or goading you (“Cynicism is a humor that suits me” he’s said in a T magazine profile). It’s been eons since the artisanal jeans movement stormed the gate (denimgate?), so I’ll go ahead and presume you all know the brand A.P.C. (atelier de production et de creation). It started in Paris in 1986, it’s a line that makes jeans that you have to work very hard to break in, and "A.P.C." is the universally agreed-upon, male, fashblogger-approved response to, "What jeans are you wearing?"

All of this, obviously, is by design. Touitou has pursued music from the beginning as well and is just as unorthodox in that arena in terms of how he likes to do business. He releases his own music and creates compilations with like-minded friends. According to T, he even built a recording studio at A.P.C. HQ, a haven for employees who want to record with their bands, and where parts of the score for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox were recorded. I’m going to do that annoying thing where I just pull out some responses and cut-and-paste them, not (only) because I’m lazy, but because his quotes are great unmolested.

On A.P.C.’s iterative processes:
“Here we make the fabric, we design, manufacture, we mail order. It’s invisible work and it takes a long time to do.”

On fashion shows:
“The fashion show for me is purely a spectacular nonsense. It’s all related to how much hype you get at that period of time. Everybody’s going to think you’re fabulous or not and it’s not based on your work and your clothes.”

On releasing music:
“I decided to produce music when I had the means to do so. We decided to do a first album and to be totally independent. I’m sorry, but I do not want to talk to the music industry.”

On logos:
“Everybody wants to be a star very quickly, and so anybody will do a label and have his name on it. So I didn’t want no name at all at the beginning….The first collection was just the label with the name, with the date actually. The first one was called ‘Winter ’87.’”

On tawdry clothes:
“I don’t like the clothes too loudly sexy because sex, when it’s too loud, is not sex anymore. It’s an image of sex, and you don’t want the image to want sex.”

For more on Jean Touitou, follow his Twitter feed. Or watch this video. Also, read this.

+ WATCH A.P.C.


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 48

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cindy crawford dennis rodman

Dennis Rodman models swimsuits with Cindy Crawford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 50
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 6/17/96
Appearances: Pat Smear, Cindy Crawford, Dennis Rodman

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: CINDY INTERVIEWS DENNIS RODMAN

Call me crazy, but by the end of this segment I couldn’t help but wondering if Cindy requested to return to the show expressly for this piece. She looooooooves Dennis Rodman. I'm not into sports but this guy was a pop culture icon in the mid-'90s. He dated Madonna, wrote a book called Bad As I Wanna Be, wore a wedding dress during the press junket for his biography, and appeared onstage with Pearl Jam because that was his favorite band. Here, Dennis and Cindy try on bathing suits in the unfinished Seattle Planet Hollywood in a makeshift studio.

Cindy wears a very shiny shirt, Dennis wears a gigantic faux fur and brocade cap, and she can't stop admiring his physique while cracking “The Worm” jokes. Ever the exhibitionist, Dennis climbs into a tiny banana hammock and Cindy just about passes out.

Dennis is significant because basketball players aren't the most stylish dudes. I wasn't a fan of everything he did but he always took huge fashion risks with his ever-changing hair color, tattoos, and piercings. Plus, he always supported AIDS awareness and once declared that he would marry himself because he was bisexual. Some of the schtick was obviously publicity stunt-ish but you can appreciate his intentions, like how on this segment he has AIDS ribbons spray-painted onto his hair. At any rate, I’ll take Dennis Rodman in a Gaultier bathing suit over Michael Jordan’s distressed dad jeans any day. And don't even get me started on those awful, oversized, over-loud Steve Harvey suits that rookies wear when they're drafted.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AND DENNIS RODMAN

MUSIC AND FASHION: PAT SMEAR MODELS

pat smear

Pat Smear goes on a photo shoot with Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in New York in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Shalom and Amber hit the East Village for a photo shoot with Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear. Shalom shoots, Amber styles and the three gallivant around New York on a hot summer day with a van filled with clothes. Italian ices are eaten, nails are painted and Pat poses in spring’s hottest togs, from mini-skirts to blue suits. The trio linger in barbershop doorways and on benches in Tompkins Square Park, with Shalom snapping all the while. At one point, she even takes issue with the House of Style camera crew for getting in her shot. It’s hardly a professional shoot: Amber jumps in to lotion dry legs, there are still price tags hanging out, and the end results are slightly blurred. Pat’s a great sport, going so far as to wear a gender-bending look Amber put together for him onstage.

+ WATCH PAT SMEAR PHOTO SHOOT

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

cool things

Things That Are Cool for Summer in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Everything in this segment looks like it was plucked from a rave flyer. There are curved metallic bags, tiny braided hair buns, brightly-colored sunglasses and a portable vanity (from AlwaysGroovy.com, no less) and it reminds us that you couldn’t walk into a Spencer’s Gifts without 90% of the stuff being about space or aliens. It’s insane how trendy the extraterrestrial motif was in 1996: Most of the things deemed cool fall into this category. The outlier is a quick message to support the independent record store, with a shout-out to Tim Jackson and Carolyn Schmitt’s Adult Crash, which used to sit on 66 avenue A, with a clientele that included such bold names as Courtney Love, Thurston Moore and Jon Spencer. Wendy Mullins from Built by Wendy also worked there. They specialized in Japanese imports and 7 inches, but apparently the call to arms didn’t suffice, because they’ve since sadly shuttered. Things that suck include blue nail polish (which seems more an issue of personal taste) and the high-heeled thong sandal because: barf.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 50

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shalom harlow amber valletta

New hosts Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in Episode 47 of 'House of Style' in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 53
Title: Best Of Edition
Original Airdate: 10/14/96
Includes segments from:

  • Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta Closet Tours (Episode 47)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford's swimsuit calendar shoot in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 60
Title: Retrospective
Original Airdate: 6/3/97
Includes segments from:

  • Dee Dee Ramone Gets A Paul Smith Makeover (Episode 2)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford And Tracey Ullman Play Dress Up (Episode 5)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Swimsuit Calendar Photo Shoot (Episode 8 )
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Vogue Shoot With Helmut Newton In Monte Carlo (Episode 10)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Linda Evangelista Model Profile (Episode 12)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Niki Taylor's Vogue Shoot In Miami (Episode 14)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • The Beastie Boys And The X-Large Store (Episode 15)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Liv Tyler Goes Back To School Shopping (Episode 16)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Kate Moss Model Profile (Episode 19)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Todd Oldham's Swimsuit Pointers (Episode 22)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford Shops At Sears With Duran Duran (Episode 23)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford Goes Grocery Shopping With Onyx (Episode 25)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Amber Valletta Model Profile (Episode 27)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Shoe Shopping With Sheryl Crow (Episode 35)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Jon Stewart Goes Backstage At Calvin Klein (Episode 39)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Helmut Newton Shoots Eva Herzigova For Vogue (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Daisy Fuentes Shoots A Swimsuit Calendar (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Sexy Swimsuits In The City (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Naughty By Nature's Newark Style (Episode 43)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Kurt Loder Gets A House Of Style Makeover (Episode 43)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Jewel Goes Prom Shopping (Episode 49)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford And Dennis Rodman Try On Swimsuits (Episode 50)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Shalom Harlow Hangs Out With Gwen Stefani (Episode 52)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Jason Lewis Model Profile (Episode 54)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Todd Oldham's Lazy Guy Tips (Episode 54)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Pat Smear Goes Shopping With The Spice Girls (Episode 56)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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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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