Victoria Adams, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton of The Spice Girls go shopping in 1997.
Season: 9 Episode: 56
Title: Romance Edition
Original Airdate: 2/4/97
Appearances: Victoria Adams, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton (The Spice Girls), Pat Smear, Annie Morton, Laura Mercier
MUSIC AND FASHION: THE SPICE GIRLS GO TO THE MALL
Colors of the wooooooorld! This segment heralds Pat Smear joining the House of Style team as our new correspondent, and his surly deadpan is perfect for a trip to the mall with Baby Spice, Sporty Spice and Posh Spice. Not just any part of the mall either, we're going to Contempo Casuals! To give you a little primer on timeline, this piece dates to when “Wannabe” topped pop charts in twenty countries, but it’s also this sliver of time before the girls were media-trained, so they’re a little rough around the edges. It's soooooooooo good.
On that note, I’m a little bummed Scary and Ginger aren’t around, but we do get to see Posh when she was Victoria ADAMS. Yup, this is pre-Beckham, pre-Hollywood, and pre-being-so-skinny-her-cheekbones-could-cut-a-bish. I think her shoes might be *gasp* only moderately expensive. The four troop to Newport Centre in Jersey in a white stretch limousine. Baby is wearing a stretchy blue shirt and a pair of black trousers. It’s very Limited, like she’s landed a job in data entry. Posh wears a matching white crop top and stretch trouser suit, and Sporty’s in adidas warm-ups with black sneakers and black socks. It’s amazing to see how subtle their style cues are back then, considering how each of their discrete "fashion personalities" would become so much more exaggerated and costumey as they got more famous.
Emma (a.k.a. Baby) finds herself a frog backpack that Pat shoots down. Posh self-consciously admits to having looked ridiculous as a child, to which Pat quips that she still looks ridiculous. For an MTV exclusive, Mel (a.k.a. Sporty) puts on a skirt. Pat is way too cool for school throughout. You can never tell if he likes them, never mind if they like him back, but it is fascinating to watch the three girls clown around in Elvis outfits and ridiculous hats, since that they’re never going to be this normal again.
+ WATCH PAT SMEAR WITH THE SPICE GIRLS
MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: ANNIE MORTON
Model Annie Morton in 1997.
Annie Morton's a weird one. She was popular in the ’90s fashion community but never became renowned outside of it. With her gap teeth and slight 5’8” frame, she has both Lauren Hutton and Kate Moss to thank for opened doors, but what people remember most fondly about her is that there was a realness to her sexiness.
Whether it was Annie’s creative decision or ours, this interview is also really real. It all goes down on the floor of her apartment and her hair is messy. She's not wearing any makeup but is wearing what could be classified as “house pants.” Annie goes to get a photo of her brother while instructing us not to follow her into her apartment (we are relegated to the hallway) and talks us through her modeling book. Her black cat walks across our shot, the buzzer rings and at one point, we even hear our interviewer speak. Not once do we stop rolling. This is such a different scene from our interviews with supermodels, even the most candid ones.
There is a notable lack of glamour or pretense. Pop music may dominate the charts in the latter part of the decade, but the lo-fi effects of grunge are still felt within the fashion community in terms of the prevalent vibe still being antithetical to the supermodel. Annie also enjoyed a certain versatility, from her ads for Donna Karan to a shoot with Ellen Von Unwerth, but she also famously appeared naked in Juergen Teller’s book for Taschen. The photographer responsible for the eerie, sun-bleached Marc Jacobs ad campaigns is an apt complement to Annie’s modeling style.
+ WATCH ANNIE MORTON
DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: LAURA MERCIER SHOWS US SPRING MAKEUP FOR 1997
Spring makeup tips from makeup artist Laura Mercier in 1997.
It’s always nice to see the people behind the product, and as recognizable as her eponymous makeup line is, I’d never seen Laura Mercier herself. The makeup artist is fierce. She has retro curled-under bangs, a feline swoop to her eyeliner and wears massive hoop earrings. In makeup trends, we begin to move away from the spackled foundation and heavily powdered looks of the decades before. This was the beginning of the time period when tinted moisturizer became more popular than the cream base, and Laura has some great tips for achieving the “it” look.
Concealer corrects small blemishes, obviating the need for an entire faceful of foundation. Moisturizing is key, and an eye cream is deployed to achieve a smooth, blendable surface. Light, bright colors like oranges and pinks are ideal, as is anything with a little shimmer or shine. Laura advises people not to make a Nike swoosh while applying blush, instead creating a small arch right on top of the apple of the cheek. She also instructs viewers to set up a makeup station by a window with natural light in order to avoid surprises. The final look is beautiful, youthful and vibrant.
The only thing that I have to add is that as someone who tried the shimmery bare-face, the dewy perfection often devolves into a shiny mess. Without a purposeful brow, lid, or lip to anchor a look, I always ended up rice paper-ing my reflective T-zones so compulsively that by the end of the day I was left with a naked face. This was a positive move away from the overly made-up looks of the early ’90s and ’80s, but if you ask me, it was a pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction. Trends and scientists would eventually help us find a happy medium. Thank you, cosmetic polymers.
+ WATCH LAURA MERCIER ON MAKEUP
THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK: VALENTINE'S DAY
Things That Are Cool and Things That Suck For Valentine's Day in 1997.
This Valentine's day, we're into old-school, personalized cards, chinoiserie, fancy bubble bath, soap, glittery eyes, boxes of assorted candy, red polish, and "love"-themed rings.
We're anti getting money like we're some sort of charity case, dudes getting pervy, white pumps, public displays of affection and guys who freshen breath in a totally un-suave way before they try to make out with us. Gross.
+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK