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jean paul gaultier

Designer Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 3 Episode: 12
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 12/18/91
Appearances: Jean Paul Gaultier, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld, Ellen Von Unwerth

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: JEAN PAUL GAULTIER IS AN ICON

From his TV interviews last fall with Lady Gaga to his current role as creative director of Diet Coke, few designers have become pop culture icons quite like Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s a marvel that the platinum-tressed couturier, who blazed onto the fashion scene in the '70s (he apprenticed under Pierre Cardin, launched his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and went onto couture in 1999), has retained relevance and notoriety as the enfant terrible of the French fashion industry for over 30 years. In 1985, he introduced sharply cut, midi-length skirt suits for men; in the ’90s, he famously created the cone bra for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour. This year, the two tow-headed stars have joined forces again: Gaultier outfitted her Madgesty for the MDNA world tour.

In this segment, Cindy goes to Paris to discuss taboo, the origin of Gaultier's fixation with corsetry and his reasons for making gender-bending fashion. Jean Paul Gaultier is honest and affable with zero pretension and it’s easy to see why, all these decades later there’s still joy to be found in Gaultier’s designs. It's unsurprising that new and exciting talents like Gaga still clamor to work with him.

+ WATCH JEAN PAUL GAULTIER


RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: LINDA EVANGELISTA

linda evangelista

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

Maybe it’s because it’s the Paris fashion episode, or because it’s a couple of years after our first supermodel interview, but Linda is the first model we speak to who has a firm grasp on how famous she is. Also, it strikes me that she speaks in technical terms regarding her work not unlike an actor talking to James Lipton on Inside The Actor’s Studio. Linda always wanted to be a model, even as a child, and in this segment she makes the interesting claim that models—especially the supermodels of the time—are like actresses, except that they are captured in still images rather than moving pictures. It should also be noted that the distinction is important—some would go on to pursue successful acting careers and others would have more trouble with dialogue.

During the ’90s, as the names of models, photographers and even fashion editors became more well-known, the magazine cover was the domain of the model, and not of the actress, as it is these days. Linda cites her versatility as a reason she’s such a cover and ad campaign mainstay. Legendary photographer Steven Meisel (in a rare on camera interview) confirms this assessment, and praises how completely she immerses herself in each character. We see that a change in hair color and clothes alters her look drastically. Linda also says that her mercurial appearance makes up for her lack of “All-American appeal” since she doesn't have the “button nose” or the “wheat-colored hair” that was so popular when she was growing up in Ontario, Canada. It's funny because it never occurred to me that looking like Linda Evangelista could ever be a crutch. Especially in Ontario, Canada. JKJKJKJK.

+ WATCH LINDA EVANGELISTA


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: PARIS FASHION WEEK

paris fashion week

Model Naomi Campbell in hair and makeup backstage at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

We're backstage again, this time to unveil the secrets of Paris Fashion Week. There's a tangle of cameras jockeying for position on the press risers, and the close quarters reveal crews of models in various stages of preparation. Cindy dubs it as “glamorous as a supermarket sale,” and breaks down the math of how much the event costs: the invitations to “1800 fashion editors and 600 buyers in 42 countries,” the ushers, the location, the presents and, of course, the models. A single show can set a designer back $150,000, and the top-grossing girl can make upwards of $5,000 per show (this is, of course, in 1991 dollars and only an indication as to how much designers spend now). Christy Turlington justifies the math thusly: “When you look at it in terms of business and how much money we’re bringing in for companies, I think that our couple of thousand dollars are meager.” Karl Lagerfeld agrees: “They are the image-making persons of today," he says. "They are like the goddesses of the silent screen.”

Backstage, models are crammed beside racks, and everyone is smoking. On the runway for Spring 1992, we see frou-frou lace dusters for the pin-up, campy lingerie look. This is the year Chanel showed staid, predictable, box-suit silhouettes, but in cheeky pastel terry cloth. It’s also the season of Herve Leger’s first show. Michael Hutchence of INXS describes the prepping for such pageantry as “a hundred women getting ready for dinner—it’s terrifying.”

+ WATCH BACKSTAGE AT PARIS FASHION WEEK


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: ELLEN VON UNWERTH'S 'ITALIAN VOGUE' SHOOT

ellen von unwerth

Photographer Ellen Von Unwerth in 1991.
Photo: MTV

This is a beautiful, fun segment that illustrates at several points, the difference between a fashion editorial with actresses and one case with models. If you’ve ever been on-set for a celebrity fashion shoot, you can immediately see the difference. Models know what they look like. If you’ve ever seen America’s Next Top Model, you’ll know how challenging it is for a subject to look fantastic, while engaging in an activity and how critical it is to be able to command body language and facial expressions according to the demands of the photographer. It's in intuition, experience and anticipating that shutter snap. Here Karen Mulder plays a raven-haired Jane Russell and Eva Herzigova plays Marilyn Monroe. They romp around in cars, lounge in a hotel room, and pose with loads of cigarettes. The models are in their element.

Ellen's easy way with models may stem from her starting her career as one. A burgeoning interest in photography led to a campaign with British designer Katharine Hamnett. Ellen is generally considered one of the most dynamic photographers in the fashion industry (both then and now), and it’s fascinating to see how relaxed and personable she is behind the camera. She smiles a lot and her instructions are either casually gestured or a single word left open for interpretation (like "flamenco"), and you can see why, when you’re half naked on a set or in public, Ellen’s style might be confidence building. It’s also what gives Ellen Von Unwerth’s photographs an immensely voyeuristic appeal. She lets the actions run while she chooses what to capture. The end result is often like a scene from a movie, and this Italian Vogue spread that's inspired by the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes may be stylized in costume but appears totally spontaneous.

+ WATCH ELLEN VON UNWERTH


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 12

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helmut newton

Photographer Helmut Newton and 'Vogue' magazine Creative Director Grace Coddington in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 40
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 5/23/95
Appearances: Helmut Newton, Grace Coddington, Eva Herzigova

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: HELMUT NEWTON'S EVA HERZIGOVA 'VOGUE' SHOOT

Helmut Newton is as much a household name as his models, and here we find him shooting again for American Vogue with legendary creative director Grace Coddington. In every way, this is a study in contrasts, and with Helmut, an entire shoot can hinge on him riffing on an image. For his notes on this shoot with Eva Herzigova (notably and unsurprisingly another Aryan-looking ice queen of a subject), he simply had the notion that he would oil her up and she would look like a young Greek goddess. He admits that he’s strayed from his original idea as the shoot progressed, and though you can see hints at Grecian cues in her blonde hair, curled and pinned at the base of her neck, that’s where all intentions fly out the door. It’s fascinating to see Helmut’s brain work, and he explains that inspiration for him is all about a “point of departure.” Were he to wait for the “divine spark to move Helmut,” he says, “we would have to wait and that other positions presented themselves.”

It’s amazing to watch how Helmut works, especially since he’s so articulate and aware of his process. Ellen von Unwerth, for instance, comes from a place of having modeled, and can evoke certain candid, sexy moods by remaining unobtrusive while encouraging girls to play as naturally as possible. With Gilles Bensimon, it’s an exercise in planning, deliberation and showcasing his admiration for women, and while Helmut clearly loves women too, his methods are about projecting fantasies from his own psyche. His point of view and perversions are very much his, and the process is far less collaborative; he talks about how mechanical and precise the resulting photos are. He asks Eva several times to move her fingers slightly or change the placement of a hand. It’s not a flurry of shots as much as it is changing details until he has exactly what he wants.

Helmut says that no aspect of his shoot is about intellectual instruction, but he is shrewd about the fashion photography climate. He abstains from red lipstick because it’s boring; he says he’s easily bored because he’s superficial and has no attention span. He rails against his critics because he thinks that political and social analyses of his photographs miss the point, yet he obviously knows exactly what feelings he’ll evoke, since he’s careful in sullying Eva’s otherwise pristine image by keeping the soles of her feet filthy, and by calling himself politically incorrect.

Helmut Newton is a boon to fashion photography, and even though there are plenty of talented photographers who are still around, there’s something about his very specific voice that I miss. While it’s awesome that technology has democratized fashion photography in terms of barrier to entry with easy-to-use DSLRs and the proliferation of fashion blogs, it’s heartbreaking that there are so few forums for truly romanticized fashion editorials that show off strong voices. The drama has suffered somewhat in favor of technical or journalistic photographs that show how Italian men layer or tie their scarfs or how kids on the street dress, and while candid shots have their merit, I can’t help thinking we have a long way to go before budgets like these will be supported for online-exclusive content without it being an ad campaign, or designed by an agency to look like an editorial. A lot of U.S. fashion editorials these days exist to illustrate a service or glamorize what’s essentially a clothing catalog, and it straight bums me out.

+ WATCH HELMUT NEWTON SHOOTS EVA HERZIGOVA


POP CULTURE AND FASHION: DAISY FUENTES'S SWIMSUIT SHOOT

This is sorta like the Cindy shoot in Mexico and predates MTV regular Daisy Fuentes becoming our host by two years, but it's interesting to compare the two calendars. Both of them were concerned about what this means for their image but recognize how important it is for their careers to acknowledge the dude-fans. Daisy opts for a female photographer which alters the dynamic somewhat.

+ WATCH DAISY FUENTES' SWIMSUIT SHOOT


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: SWIMSUITS IN NYC

This season’s swimsuit trends range from metallic, detachable marabou feather trim, vintage cuts that resemble bras and girdles, and this newfangled stuff like looks like patent leather but is actually breathable and waterproof. To illustrate this, we’ve got a pair of models posing on fire escapes, using payphones, standing in front of fire hydrant spray and fixing motorcycles. It’s all a bit confusing and very much reminds me of hilarious stock footage on Getty. It’s basically women laughing alone with salad.

+ WATCH SEXY SWIMSUITS


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 40

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helmut newton

Photographer Helmut Newton and 'Vogue' magazine Creative Director Grace Coddington in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 51
Title: Best Of Summer Edition
Original Airdate: 7/22/96
Includes segments from:

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

  • Cindy Crawford With Dennis Rodman (Episode 50)
  • 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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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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Editorial Director
Sophia Rai
Staff Editor
Gaby Wilson
West Coast Editor
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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.

Posted by Journey on Mariah Carey And Nick Cannon Shut Down Disneyland To Renew Vows In Cinderella-Themed Ensembles
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