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the spice girls

Victoria Adams, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton of The Spice Girls go shopping in 1997.
Photo: MTV

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


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.



annie morton

Model Annie Morton in 1997.
Photo: MTV

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.



laura mercier

Spring makeup tips from makeup artist Laura Mercier in 1997.
Photo: MTV

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.



valentine's day

Things That Are Cool and Things That Suck For Valentine's Day in 1997.
Photo: MTV

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.


Things That Are Cool and Things That Suck | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style


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christina aguilera

Singer Christina Aguilera tries on fall coats in 1999.
Photo: MTV

Season: 11 Episode: 69
Title: Dress Code
Original Airdate: 8/30/99
Appearances: Christina Aguilera, Anna Sui


Whoa. Christina pre-Xtina footage! Pre-everything footage, I guess. This is RIGHT when Christina Aguilera’s album first came out, like, the literal week afterward, and she’s so tiny and innocent and unsullied that it’s amazing. She’s wearing a short-sleeved cardigan that reveals her tummy, and she’s so articulate in that completely engaged, shiny-eyed way that ex-Mouseketeers have about them. She is “partial to the ballads” on her album, and asserts that the lyrics to “Genie In A Bottle” are way less pervy and far more lady-evolved than the hook suggests.

This is a fall segment, so we’ve got a rack of coats for Rebecca and Christina to try on. It seems full-length and ¾ length are in as far as hems go, and the outerwear runs the gamut from a Versace dyed python with a zebra-print pony belt to a giant, sherbet-colored fur number with a satin lining that’s painted with Chinese calligraphy. There is a tufted poncho, a striped cape and a lovely classic from Prada’s Robin Hood-ish collection (I always called it that because the shoes were so pointy that season) that features carefully cut-out leather and appliquéd patent leather leaves. Speaking of embellishment, there’s a bonkers yellow plastic coat from Dolce & Gabbana embroidered in hot pink that Christina loves. It’s such a refreshing rediscovery of what the performer was like when she started out. Speaking of which, she mentions that she’s accustomed to dressing for warmth because she’s from Pittsburgh. Did ANY of you remember that? How weird is that? I totally misplaced that factoid over the years, which is just one way in which time and aging mess with you. Dyed python is still gauche, though!



anna sui

Designer Anna Sui gives student Jame Darrow a dorm room makeover in 1999.
Photo: MTV

I love that this segment contains a exterior shot with Anna Sui marching down the street to do over a bedroom. She’s so purposeful, with her bag and her braided pigtails. It’s this Mary Poppins-ish moment that makes you believe she is absolutely capable of magic. Anna was one of those people we always relied on to add a touch of style expertise, and here she takes over what is traditionally a Todd role to re-do a tiny bedroom because the owner is going crazy, overwhelmed by its fugliness.

The room has dope bones — there’s a whole wall of exposed brick, decent windows and it’s small but large enough for a bed, desk and dresser (basically, KING SIZED for New York standards) — and the first order of business is creating a theme based on the ingredients the occupant already owns. There’s a beaded, Aztec-themed curtain: From there, Anna picks out a blue wall color typical of homes in Mexico. Red is the accent color for the radiator and exposed pipe. A corkboard is added, with crisscrossed ribbon (which is a DIY trick I definitely remember as being a whole thing in my college days). An embroidered bedspread complements the animal-print sheets and shams for mix and match goodness; another matching spread is hoisted up for a window panel. A tooled silver mirror transforms the chest of drawers into a vanity and from there, it’s a short step to get to an introduction of Anna’s new makeup line.

I don’t remember a time when Anna Sui’s fragrance and cosmetics line didn’t exist. Sometimes I feel like right when I hit the age where I was ready to experiment with makeup, Anna’s dreamy, sexy, black lacquer, rose embossed goodies hit the market, and I wanted everything. It was sort of the antithesis to the marbled green Clinique stuff (I mean, who didn’t have the toner and face soap? Not to mention the makeup bags) and embodied everything about Anna Sui’s sartorial aesthetic. I actually remember seeing this segment and wondering if the girl whose room she made over got to keep everything. Can you imagine? Anna Sui comes over, and not only does she revamp your entire sleeping area but then she blesses you with a passel of makeup? Ridiculous. Also awesome. The envy still smarts!



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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
Assistant Editor
Maeve Keirans
Editorial Assistant
Jessie Peterson

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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