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cindy crawford richard gere

Cindy Crawford interviews actor and boyfriend Richard Gere at the Gianni Versace AIDS Benefit in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 3 Episode: 7
Title: Spring Edition
Original Airdate: 3/6/91
Appearances: Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Richard Gere, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone, Betsey Johnson, Andre Leon Talley

RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: CINDY CRAWFORD AT THE GIANNI VERSACE AIDS FUNDRAISER

This clip is a jewel, not only for its peek into the Versace archive at a time when the clothes were at the apex of mixed-print, bold-hued richesse, but because you get to hear Gianni talk (albeit briefly) about a cause that was important to him. For the Friends of AIDS benefit, Cindy and the supermodels descend upon Chateau Marmont for a Versace fashion show attended by the most A-list Hollywood types. Cindy does double-duty for the evening, shooting a segment (with a “Cindy Cam” while she’s backstage) for House of Style, and walking in the show. Maybe it’s because Gianni Versace was a personal favorite of mine, or perhaps because he died so tragically, but the footage is notably bittersweet. Seeing how much the supermodels loved him and witnessing again how active he was, at the peak of his career, in the fight against AIDS is poignant — especially since this was at a time when the disease was swiftly destroying whole communities, and those who were HIV-positive were stigmatized by ignorance and hysteria. “For the problem of AIDS,” says Versace, “for the problem that touches many friends. I did this with the heart.”

Naomi serves formidable hair flip as she bounds down the runway. Claudia says she always feels pretty in Versace’s clothes. And in an odd transformative note, ever notice how Gianni Versace's Italian-ness rubs off on Christy Turlington? Her Versace billboards in the opening shot are a vision of sun-kissed, smoky-eyed, Sophia Loren-esque goodness.

Everyone backstage is calm, and the show runs smoothly. We’ve been seeing a lot of early ’90s Versace lately: Lady Gaga had a field day with the archive for a media blitz earlier this year, there isn’t a tony vintage store worth its salt that doesn’t carry a couple of pieces, Drake wore a printed Versace button-up to his birthday, and the ornate-bordered shirt has been knocked off countless times, but the differences are palpable when you’re seeing the clothes in this context—on the backs of these models—when Gianni Versace was alive.

The magic lies in the movement. Versace mixed polka dots and houndstooth, filigree and floral, with everything in electric, hyper-saturated tones, all on the finest fabrics. Watching the silk suits glide down the runway is unreal because the prints undulate and billow. Gianni Versace knew how to cut: The precision and structural integrity of what would otherwise be too-whimsical in its cavalier opulence make his clothes compulsively wearable. I never thought I’d type these words, but Sylvester Stallone says it best: “Versace has his feet firmly planted in traditionalism. But every now and then, he brings about an air of theatricality. So if you feel like being a bit bold, his clothes kinda bridge that gap.” The fact that Stallone is wearing a silk lapel, wing-collar shirt and has his nails buffed to a high sheen makes this pop culture nugget that much more satisfying. Another quotable tidbit comes from Sandra Bernhard: “I think the war has gotten Bush off the hook for a while, but AIDS is an ongoing war and battle that really hasn’t been properly fought.” And, of course, there’s Naomi Campbell, who displays startling honesty about the “most embarrassing thing in [her] closet." Let's just say, she talks about something of a deeply... um... penetratively... personal nature.

We also see Andre Leon Talley snap photos of our host, and for Cindy superfans, this is the first moment where Richard Gere (Cindy's first husband) has ever seen her in this role. He’s gobsmacked. You can tell he thinks himself the luckiest bastard in the world for having landed this woman (in super-sexy, head-to-toe Versace, having just MODELED it) holding an MTV mic cube and interviewing him like a real-life journalist.

“This is amazing because we’ve known each other for two and a half years and I’ve never seen you do this before,” Gere stammers. “This is incredible. I’m just kind of floored.” From Steven Seagal in a band collar with Kelly LeBrock (dressed like a sad clown) in tow, to a photo of Michael Landon and Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter in matching teased coifs, this was a wonderful collision of worlds, and we’re lucky that MTV was there to capture it.

+ WATCH THE VERSACE AIDS BENEFIT


DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: WHERE DO BABYDOLL DRESSES COME FROM?

betsey johnson

Designer Betsey Johnson in 1991.
Photo: MTV

The term “babydoll dress” may have not been coined by Betsey Johnson, but she can certainly lay claim to popularizing the '60s silhouette in the '90s. (The thing I love most about her floral versions is that they had pockets!) “This shape… à la maternity/pregnancy, I’ve been calling the babydoll,” she says. “It’s very naive, very sweet, very young, very innocent look. It’s a mystery after the bust. And that’s what’s interesting, because it’s got a very sexy little top part, and then after that it’s like, who knows? Is she hippy? Is she skinny? What is she under there?”

In this segment, we explore “warm weather dresses” and it’s a romp through Central Park with models in different versions of the summer staple, intercut with designers in their work rooms. There is a beautiful version by New York designer Carmelo Pomodoro, whose promising career would be cut short the following year when he died of AIDS-related pneumonia at just 37 years old. He calls this his “princess dress”: it features a demure, boxy, clavicle-skimming neckline (“I have a personal relationship with the clavicle. I think it’s the sexiest part of the body”) and a plunging back.

There is also a flowy, versatile, tank, A-line dress from Stacey Pecor at Hendris. The designer would go on to become a retail success story, founding the popular New York chain Olive and Bette's.

The final “picnic in the park” scene, with daisies and a somewhat slapdash “peace” flag, calls to mind an article entitled “Fashion: Baby Dolls, Naughty and Nice” by Anne-Marie Schiro, in an October 1990 issue of the New York Times. Schiro interviewed Kalman Ruttenstein, a senior VP for fashion direction at Bloomingdale’s, and Terry Melville, a VP and Fashion Director of the Junior/Contemporary category at Macy’s. The executives parsed the general silhouette of a baby doll (“high waist, high yoke, more fabric”; the textiles used: “chiffon, challis, stretch velvet and stretch lace”; and the predominant print: “florals… next in importance are dots, then geometrics and solid-color lace’). Melville and Ruttenstein also situated the dress as a revival of the “symbol of the 1960s youthquake.” I remember these dresses. We would wear them over tights with combat boots and a choker and your hair up in a French twist, or we’d wear them over a long-sleeved bodysuit; but I did not then or now consider them to be anything but very ’90s.

Even in 2012 with the high-waisted, floral print/lace ’90s dress enjoying a resurgence and the rising popularity of the choker on people born too recently to remember the decade—like Chloe Moretz and Sky Ferreira—I can’t help but wonder whether they know that the ’90s dresses are an homage to an earlier era. I certainly didn’t. If you show me a pair of silver clogs, I won’t think '1960s' I’ll always think '1991' because of the color and the execution. It’s the fingerprint that a decade leaves on a borrowed trend as it’s repeatedly revived in the future and I wonder what the effects will be as we look back on '80s trends from 2012 in 2032. Especially since these cycles shrink as technological innovations get faster and we become more peripatetic in pulling temporal inspiration. Colors change, mills introduce things like stretch lace, 3D printing becomes a reality and the price points for trends dip and democratize. Fashion is getting crazy accessible and it's fascinating. It's also interesting to see what’s picked up again with fondness and what’s left alone on each go 'round. We haven't yet seen the sleeveless white turtleneck bodysuit and the macramé flared-sleeve, calf-length duster but I’d bet money that they'll return. And I can't wait to see how they've changed.

+ WATCH WARM WEATHER DRESSES


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 7

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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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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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