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dolce and gabbana

Cindy Crawford and designer Domenico Dolce at Cindy's model fitting during Milan Fashion Week in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Season: 4 Episode: 18
Title: Milan Edition
Original Airdate: 12/16/92
Appearances: Stefano Gabbana, Domenico Dolce, Linda Evangelista, Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Kristen McMenamy, Mario Testino, Stephen Sprouse, Kevyn Aucoin


We’re in Milan to see what goes into a model fitting there. Cindy tries on Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring ’93 collection, and the Italian duo feature more of the long, lean, lithe, Brit-rock-gone-hippie looks that were popular that season. We're talking floppy hats, clogs, chunky heels, peasant blouses, maxi skirts, chokers, patchwork, and massive ’70s collars. There’s even a bit where the girls dress up in matching, shrunken mod suits like the Beatles in the early Brian Epstein years. Linda Evangelista, with her perfectly bobbed hair, plays John Lennon, and is slightly embarrassed by the prospect of fake-playing a guitar.

Cindy talks about the process: finding your rack, going through all the adjustments, having your Polaroid taken for reference so you know how the pieces go together and what accessories go where (this was the year, after all, when everyone wore gobs of necklaces, gold rings, massive cameos, hats, feathers and scarves) and how her assignment—number 11—sets her order in the show. She jokingly remarks that she’s been bumped down from having opened the show last year.

Cindy introduces us to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and then sits down with them as a journalist to discuss their inspiration for the season and their shared appreciation of breasts—their favorite body part on a lady. It’s amusing to note that Carla Bruni is wearing a replica of the Queen’s crown given that she’s since been First Lady of France. But it’s a beret-wearing Madonna, with overly plucked eyebrows and perfectly in-sync circle Lennon glasses, jumping onstage for the encore that steals the show. Asked about her presence, Madge simply replies that she and the designers are friends. The collection is sprawling and stunning, and it’s lovely for us to see a runway show in the time before livestreaming and backstage cams from this many vantage points.



naomi campbell

Model Naomi Campbell in her hotel room at Milan Fashion Week in 1992.
Photo: MTV

We’re at Fashion Week after hours with Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Kristen McMenamy. The three striking women are visibly fatigued after a long day of fittings and shows, and we get a genuine, loopy vibe from them that gives this behind-the-scenes footage a sense of honesty. They’re just too beat to put up veils. Not that Naomi has ever had any problems being herself, but seeing three supermodels sitting on the floor of a hotel bathroom (a very nice hotel bathroom, mind you) holding up chicken cutlet boob inserts and commenting about their lack of “tits” is remarkably engaging.

After Linda goes home, Kristen and Naomi play dress-up. Naomi puts on a dress that cost her $15 with a $10 poncho. Kristen models a number of her characteristically gothy black dresses, and then Naomi shows off her one-of-a-kind purple suede Anna Sui ensemble. Kristen leaves (only after jumping all over Naomi’s enormous bed), and then Naomi begins her nighttime ablutions. She’s wearing an oversized tie-dyed tee as she washes her face and exfoliates. It’s an intimate, memorable moment not only because she muses about her future husband, but also because, when she’s traded all her pretty togs for a night shirt and no makeup, she looks very much the young girl that she is. Then she does something awesome: Without any self-consciousness about being on national television, she applies zit cream to her face with a Q-Tip: “I’ve got zits so I’m going to put my spots cream on and I don’t care. Everybody has zits.” It’s humanizing and feels impossibly far away from the Naomi we know today, what with the phone-throwing tantrums and diva behavior.



mario testino

Photographer Mario Testino goes on a rainy day photo shoot in Milan in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Street photography is nothing new now, what with the proliferation of work from Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist) and Tommy Ton (Jak & Jil) and every subsequent riff on the theme, but it’s interesting to see how legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino shot scenes from Milan. First of all, we can’t neglect to mention how beautifully dressed the photographer is, in an impeccably layered, unmistakably Italian ensemble: French cuffs, a jolt of color in his cardigan, a tartan umbrella and a navy blazer with an ASCOT. It’s everything you’d see in a GQ gallery of the Italian trade show Pitti Uomo today (though I appreciate that Pitti happens in Firenze).

Testino talks about how much he loves shooting architecture in black and white (accompanied by the requisite shots of the Duomo), but he also talks about how much he loves shooting details like messy electrical wiring above a storefront. The end results are unfussy and lovely. Testino describes how much he loves taking photos of children and older people when he’s shooting for pleasure, adding that older generations have all the style. It’s an admirable quirk for an artist renowned for capturing the most beautiful supermodels of the time, but he’s not alone in this sentiment. Check out Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style blog, that features chic women in their 80s and 90s. It's fabulous... As is Mario’s admirably thick head of hair.



stephen sprouse

Designer Stephen Sprouse returns to fashion with a collection shot for 'Harper's Bazaar' in 1992.
Photo: MTV

On hiatus since December 1988, the artist, photographer and designer Stephen Sprouse returned to fashion with “CyberPunk,” a 32-piece capsule collection made exclusively for Bergdorf Goodman. After a shoulder injury forced a switch to shoes with Velcro fastenings and a commission from Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses to create tour outfits, Sprouse decided to create a line of androgynous clothing that exclusively featured Velcro closures. To commemorate the occasion, the designer shot a fashion editorial for Harper’s Bazaar.

To give you a little background as to the significance of Sprouse’s return to fashion, you must first know that he was an important figure in the downtown New York scene. He made clothes for his neighbor Debbie Harry; he collaborated with Andy Warhol, creating prints with the artist’s camo silkscreens. Sprouse also worked with Keith Haring, who designed his signature “squibbles” for a number of garments in Sprouse’s 1983 collection. However, the younger generation may better remember Sprouse’s Day-Glo graffiti hand style from the 2008 Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton ads shot by Terry Richardson, where the designer appears naked with a “defaced” LV monogram weekender hiding his privates. The 2008 collection of “It Bags” were actually an homage to the collaboration between Marc and Steven in 2000, before the artist passed away due to heart failure in 2004.

In a Harper’s Bazaar article in 2008, Jacobs said of Sprouse, “He had this desire to take what he saw in the streets and elevate it. He was using all this stuff that was so costly, really beautiful materials, and he was doing it all so beautifully. There are so many people who try to affect a street style, but it doesn't have the integrity. Stephen's work was so stylistic, and it had street cred.”

Sprouse abandoned fashion to focus on his art career, but resumed making clothes for two collections. CyberPunk’s least expensive piece was a pair of men’s undergarments that retailed for $500, but it’s the luxe ponchos, floor-length hooded tunics, military detailing and post-apocalyptic armor plating that are notable for their fit and dramatic flair: streetwear gone wildly couture.



kevyn aucoin christy turlington

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin gives Christy Turlington perfectly plucked '90s eyebrows.
Photo: MTV

If you’ve never flipped through Kevyn’s books— The Art of Makeup, Making Faces and Face Forward, which show transformations of regular people into historical figures or turn Hollywood stars into… other Hollywood stars—you absolutely should. Before your favorite YouTube makeup artist showed off step-by-step instructions on how to turn herself into Jared Leto or Justin Bieber, there was Kevyn Aucoin (who died of organ failure, caused by an addiction to the prescription painkillers he took for a pituitary tumor), turning Martha Stewart into Veronica Lake and Christina Ricci into Edith Piaf. Kevyn had a featured column in Allure and was one of the most celebrated makeup artists of his day.

In this segment, Kevyn (along with makeup artist Carol Shaw) teaches us how to pluck our eyebrows. Or, rather, how to overpluck them, since this was the early ’90s, when a pencil-thin arch and a lip-lined pout were all the rage. It’s the video version of the magazine illustration that always told you to take a pencil and point it towards your nose and make sure your nostril and the fat part of the brow met at a certain angle. However, the best advice comes from Carol Shaw, who tells us to use a white nail pencil (a device that helped whiten French manicure tips—another beauty casualty of the decade) to mark where you wanted to pluck, and to use a stiff, angled brush and eyeshadow to fill in the brow and finish the look.



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elizabeth berkley

Inside 'Showgirls' star Elizabeth Berkley's closet in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 42
Title: Back To School Edition
Original Airdate: 9/11/95
Appearances: Elizabeth Berkley, Stephanie Seymour, Veronica Webb, Victoria Bartlett, Stephen Sprouse


If you grew up watching Saved by the Bell and knew Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano, you were probably deeply curious to see how she’d fare as the lead in the Paul Verhoeven movie Showgirls. The film is a campy celebration of Vegas debauchery, schlocky acting, eating dog food, and full frontal nudity, with a lot of explicit sex.

We catch up with Elizabeth Berkley a few weeks before the release of the NC-17 cult classic, and you can tell she’s eager for the image change. She’s ready to shed the do-gooding, overachieving high-school version of herself, and is very much dressing the part. She shows off the difference between the flannel shirts, jeans and boots (or her “Midwest look” as she calls it) that she keeps in her closet for her visits home, and seems proud of her vinyl trouser collection. She’s partial to shiny clothing in general, as we see when she models a shocking red color vinyl trench.

Elizabeth talks about how much she loves Betsey Johnson floral dresses, and then plays dress-up in a shrunken sweater and pencil skirt, and later in a long red satin “chinois” dress with a slit to the thigh. She considers the first an homage to Old Hollywood glamour, and then muses that the red dress is a good option for a date. She’s in man-eater mode as she discusses stripper heels, and while this is all an exhibition to highlight how she’s changed, the earnestness is endearing. As a viewer you have mixed feelings and feel slightly protective of how she seems unaware that she’s just starred in a hilarious and highly entertaining porno.



victoria's secret fashion show

The first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Long before Adam Levine performances, million-dollar bras and winged angels who commanded hefty checks to walk in a show televised to millions of viewers on network television, there was the very first Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The goal was simple: to bring the popular lingerie and clothing catalog to life.

It looks like a tasteful trunk show in some regards. Held at New York’s Plaza Hotel, the models are elegant and recognizable: We speak with catalog mainstays Frederique, Stephanie Seymour and Veronica Webb about the goings-on. They’re dutifully respectful and appreciative of the efforts taken to produce the show. We speak to a Victoria’s Secret executive briefly as well, and while the company has been enormously successful in building the entertainment value of show in subsequent years, the most interesting thing about this dialed-down, straightforward production is the styling.

Victoria Bartlett, the stylist, is a genius, and it’s no wonder she went on to be the fashion editor of Allure, the fashion director of Interview and a designer in her own right with the creation of VPL (and the diffusion line VPL2 that counts Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani and Tilda Swinton among its fans). It’s no small feat to create a mood or an entire lifestyle around lingerie, and Bartlett pairs matching bra and panty sets with robes and cardigans and even re-imagines slips and half-slips as dresses and skirts by pairing them with shoes, handbags, cuffs and gloves.

The trend is one we’ve seen before, but taking “underwear as outerwear” and making it work for a somewhat conservative client is a shrewdly navigated balancing act. None of the slips betray a sluttiness that a grunge take on the trend would’ve evoked. This is carefully executed fashion for the mainstream, and the key here is skewing ladylike and respectable by keeping things slightly costumey (no one is wearing a baby tee with bikini panties, a handbag and driving gloves to work) with an sustained seriousness.



stephen sprouse

Designer Stephen Sprouse visits the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Stephen Sprouse once again bridges the gap between fashion and music by taking on the very specific job of styling the mannequins that will stand in the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Interestingly enough, you don’t have to be inducted to appear in the museum, and Sprouse uses this to pick and choose his favorites for the contemporary music section. It’s marvelous to have a fashion and music nerd with a clear sense of taste to curate the museum, and he’s obviously thrilled at the prospect of dispatching a team of museum-caliber preservationists to protect random stains on the destroyed rock tees. That man-hours will be devoted to maintaining the integrity of snot, blood and beer stains is kinda thrilling.

Mannequins created to exactly resemble riot girl members of L7 have their roots dyed dark on artificial hair to mimic their style precisely. Plastic baby barrettes from the dollar store are flown in and then meticulously clipped according to drawings sent by the musicians, and we even have anatomically correct mannequins (they have penises instead of a Ken doll bump) to fill skintight pants.

There are outfits from Elton John, The Fat Boys, Sid Vicious (Stephen is quick to point out the Sex label on his original Vivienne Westwood bondage pants) and Debbie Harry. The Debbie Harry dress is the first thing he’d ever made for her, and he reminisces that he’d cut the dress so short that it had to be weighted down with safety pins. There are shell-toes from Run-DMC and a tab of acid from Janis Joplin; Sprouse idles on the mannequin of Trent Reznor, who will be covered in real mud in upcoming weeks to evoke his mud-slung performance at Woodstock. It’s thrilling to get to see what it takes to be a curator (a term that in this case is used correctly) for such an anthropologically exacting exhibit, and Sprouse looks like a kid in a candy store.



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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
Chrissy Mahlmeister
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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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