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cindy crawford house of style

Cindy Crawford in Episode 1 of 'House of Style' wearing Azzedine Alaia in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Season: 1 Episode: 1
Title: Summer Fashion (Series Premiere)
Original Airdate: 6/2/89
Appearances: Salt N' Pepa, Spinderella, Gael Love (Fame magazine), Kurt Andersen (Spy Magazine), E. Graydon Carter (Spy magazine), Jane Pratt (Sassy magazine), Stephen Saban (Details magazine), Herb Ritts, Winona Ryder


salt n pepa fashion

Salt-N-Pepa wearing Betsey Johnson in 1989.
Photo: MTV

For the kick-off segment to the series, we've got Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella modelling summer looks to their own music and hamming it up something spectacular. It is as fantastic as you'd expect. Cheryl and Sandra have remained relevant throughout the years—we’ve seen them disband, star in a reality TV show for VH1, regroup and perform on The X Factor—so this is one of those “DAMN, these ladies were young in 1989!” moments. They aren’t quite media-trained yet, and that's not a dig: You can tell they don’t know what their faces look like onscreen and their voice overs are extra earnest. They dance-model with gusto and they're easygoing about the multiple outfit changes and the lo-fi appeal of the backdrop since most of the fashion show happens in a Mexican restaurant. Literally. As in, with sombrero wallpaper.

The labels range from Katharine Hamnett to Damsels in Distress and from Bryan Early to Betsey Johnson, and Stussy. It’s notable how contemporary recording artists are so conscious of fashion and labels, yet you can sorta tell that Salt, Pepa and Spin aren't completely familiarized. You get to actually watch Salt discover and fall in love with Betsey Johnson clothes during the shoot. If only we could have been a fly on the wall to watch a young Katy Perry put on head-to-toe Jeremy Scott for the first time, or Lady Gaga try on Mugler. That moment of fashion quickening is always wonderful to witness.



kurt anderson spy magazine

'Spy' magazine editors E. Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Here’s where House of Style gets “television news-magazine”-ish. In this trend piece on the proliferation of style magazines (“style” here denotes “lifestyle” in contemporary parlance), we speak to Gael Love, Editor-In-Chief of Fame. This is a lady who notoriously arrived at the office at 4:00pm to leave at 8:00pm, had previously worked at Interview and was glibly mentioned in Andy Warhol’s diaries. No big deal. After Fame folded in 1991 and several subsequent editorial ventures were dissolved, Love went on to pursue a law degree — a sabbatical from publishing that’s notable for the fact that she also worked part-time at a Chanel store. Hello employee discount.

Another beloved magazine, Spy also ended up folding, and there have been buyouts, relaunches and a coffee table book on the subject since then, but seeing as this is 1989, Spy is green, ruthless and making a huge splash within NYC and L.A. media circles. Hollywood hated them. It was great. Here we talk to a young Kurt Andersen and E. Graydon Carter (the “E” has since been lopped off). They’re so hungry and their eyes glitter with ambition and you can just tell they’re the cool kids of the bunch.

If you’re not familiar with Spy, you should search the Internet for vintage issues and rando scans because it’s one of the funniest magazines in the history of words. Full stop. In this clip, Andersen (who is now a Peabody-award winning radio host and novelist) is wearing dad/Jerry Seinfeld jeans and what appears to be a Gap flannel. He’s got wonderful, floppy, rich-guy hair, and despite looking unassuming, he says evil things like “People ask us, ‘Why don’t you have articles that celebrate people?’ Because that’s not what we do.” Chilling.

Carter, the leonine EIC of Vanity Fair wears a blazer (single-breasted; probably Anderson & Sheppard [a Savile Row tailor he’s since written a book about]) a spread collar shirt with French cuffs (obvi), patterned tie (with a tiny knot [also obvi]), a V-neck sweater and a pocket square. Though Spy would pack it in in 1998, the two would leave in 1991, terming their tenure “The Funny Years.”

Next, we have an interview with Jane Pratt AS A BRUNETTE *thunder clap*. If you’re not familiar with Jane, you’re doing it wrong. She was the creator and EIC of Sassy, a magazine that love-fried everyone's brains because it was a dazzling girls' magazine that talked like your best friend (FINALLY) on any topic, even the dicey ones like suicide, AIDS, and drugs. It also had the best sex advice that was honest and non-judgey and it kills me dead that it doesn't exist anymore. Pratt would go on to launch Jane magazine and the site Oh, and she has blonde hair now. And her eyebrows look different.

Next up: the original Details, which is not anything like the Details you see on newsstands these days. In 1989, Details was an NYC journal that chronicled the goings-on of the city’s underground scene. Here, we interview Stephen Saban, a nightlife reporter, but those of you who have any concept of OG Details probably know it from the documentary about New York Times fashion photography LEGEND Bill Cunningham. Cunningham used to work at Details, and there’s this whole part in the film about how he never once cashed a check from them (not even when it was sold for many, many boatloads of dollars) because he loved the creative freedom of working for free because it granted him license to print his stories at whatever length he chose. Of course, I would've tried to hustle the power and the money but it's because I'm a bad person and he is a unicorn saint.

Bonus Easter egg: This episode aired SO LONG AGO that it recounts the firing of 17-year veteran American Vogue EIC Grace Mirabella, and never once mentions by name the woman who succeeded her—Anna Wintour. I guess she’d yet to prove herself at the helm, which she has since done (understatement). Love you Anna! Never change!



herb ritts

Photographer Herb Ritts in 1989.
Photo: MTV

This segment runs through the origin story of the San Francisco label and its creator, Don Fisher, but then moves on to profile Millard "Mickey" S. Drexler, the creative director, who in 1983 enlisted the help of 20 fashion designers to create capsule collections that changed Gap’s brand positioning from the chain store that peddled fuddy-duddy khakis to purveyors of vibrant, relevant and trendy staples. Currently Drexler is the chairman and CEO of the J.Crew group and a director at Apple Inc. because clearly he is a retail genius.

The capsule collections are shown briefly and feature over-dyed espadrilles, floral canvas weekenders and gingham satchels that would all be at home on a display in J.Crew today. There are also racks upon racks of denim overalls, which are so having another moment this fall. The part of the story that’s memorable for the fash crowd is how they hired photographers Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel and Herb Ritts to create a black-and-white campaign for print and billboard. Some of you will be too young to remember, but they were these sexy portraits of celebrities and regular folk, each wearing a Gap article incorporated into their regular wardrobe. The one of Jackie Joyner-Kersee in a white sleeveless tee and white underwear with sleek muscles rippling is captivating, mostly because it was an accessible garment shot in a high-fashion way on a gorgeous athletic physique. It was pure art.


winona ryder

Actress Winona Ryder shares her opinion of French style in 1989.
Photo: MTV

It’s the Bienniale! Well, at least it was when this segment aired, which means that 1989 marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. To commemorate the occasion, HOS kicked it Francophilic. We look at Chanel suits and... well... knock them off. It's hilarious that a television show would teach you how to hack Chanel but then again House of Style frequently thumbed their nose at straitlaced fashion programming. Speaking of hilarious, there's also this absurd-wonderful moment, without any explanation, where we catch up with Winona Ryder on the set of a video shoot and she’s wearing a wedding dress with a veil and says, “French is very chichi to me…big lips and little dresses.” She smiles goofily in a way that makes her the most beautiful woman in the world and I just really wanted to point it out so we could talk about how she dated Johnny Depp and then later Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and then Matt Damon when her bestie Gwyneth Paltrow was dating Ben Affleck because I can't be the only one storing such useless information in my head. Right?



OK, so we have no footage of this because we couldn’t clear squat and we only ran it momentarily with the end credits BUT I’d like to high-five series creator Alisa Bellettini for covering the first Love Ball. This was the year former boutique owner, bon vivant, and nightlife doyenne Susanne Bartsch presented the very first Love Ball at Roseland ballroom. Specifically, this is the moment “Voguing” reached the masses (VERY important). Amongst the attendees were Superstar DJ Keoki, Michael Musto (Village Voice), Stephen Saban (Details), Picnic Smith, Steve Rubell (co-owner of Studio 54), Lady Miss Kier and DJ Dmitry (Deee-Lite), RuPaul, Katy K, The Lady Bunny (infamous drag queen), Kim Hastreiter and Mickey Boardman (Paper), Keith Haring, Michael Alig (currently incarcerated for murdering fellow club kid Angel Melendez, which is covered in the documentary and film, Party Monster), Andre Leon Talley, Tony Award winner (and former Mrs. Bob Fosse) Gwen Verdon, Paris DuPree (as in Paris Is Burning), video artist Nelson Sullivan, Chic composer and guitarist Nile Rodgers, and filmmaker David Byrne. Major. The Love Ball has raised millions in the fight against AIDS. Dear Internet: I NEED a three-part documentary series on this subject please. Thank you.


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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


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.



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.



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kate moss jon stewart linda evangelista

MTV correspondent Jon Stewart backstage with models Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 39
Title: New York Fashion Week
Original Airdate: 4/11/95
Appearances: Jon Stewart, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Calvin Klein, Tatjana Patitz, Simon LeBon, Todd Oldham, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Elle MacPherson


Jon Stewart is his delightful, funny self at New York Fashion Week as he goes backstage at Calvin Klein and attends rehearsal. We’ve accompanied House of Style to several Fashion Weeks in New York by now, so we have a frame of reference for how our new host is being treated. Jon is regarded with suspicion, and we seem to be getting less access than when we’re with Cindy since she often walks in the shows she covers. He interviews Calvin Klein and the designer treats the comedian like an interloper. It's not total side eye with daggers but it's definitely screw-mouth emoji.

Jon, to his credit, stays cracking the jokes, pointing out the loose butane canister among the makeup and commenting on sleeping models backstage. It’s observational humor run amok, and we don’t learn anything new or servicey but it's hilarious. Jon is bowled over, understandably, by Kate Moss, and slinks over to her and Linda Evangelista, who have cracked open a bottle of champagne to toast the end of the week. You can’t help wondering if Cindy called ahead to ask them to be nice to the new guy.



tatjana patitz

Model Tatjana Patitz at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Tatjana Patitz talks about how she only uses nondescript duffel bags to cart her Fashion Week stuff because the fancy luggage tends to get stolen. Good tip if you had any designs on becoming a world-traveling supermodel. It’s interesting to see what a model packs since she’ll be wearing other people’s clothes for such a large part of the week, so this is a peek into what Tatjana will be wearing to dinner and parties. There are a number of pretty Tocca dresses, bright bras and Manolo heels.

So far, this episode has given us a renewed sense of how much models loathe working Fashion Week. We’ve heard countless stories about how they'd rather do editorial, how exhausted they are during show weeks and Tatjana even admits that every time she tells herself, "Never again." We shadow Tatjana at Betsey Johnson and Todd Oldham, and then follow her to events with the likes of Molly Ringwald, RuPaul and the ever-present patron saint of the rockstar supermodelizer, Simon LeBon.



todd oldham

Finale of the Todd Oldham runway show at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Todd, ever the gracious host, opens his Fashion Week show to us with unparalleled access and hospitality. A mere 3 hours before his show, he is energized and not at all pitching a fit or freaking people around him with stressball energies the way some other designers would be. He wears a shrunken polo shirt with a long-sleeved tee underneath it and takes time out to talk to us about the months leading up to this moment. First he created the custom prints and embroideries, then he determined silhouettes, and finally he moved on to fine-tuning. There are typically 3-5 outfits per girl with a fitting for each. He shouts out his show producer Kevin Cryer, and we see the seating chart and have a new appreciation for the logistical nightmare that is a fashion show.

Twenty minutes before the show starts, Todd and Kevin go through the timing of the lights, the music and the order the girls will walk in. A quick visit to makeup with wizard Kevyn Aucoin shows us that the artist is taking brows to the next level by affixing a pair of slick, black vinyl ones on a stunningly young Tyra Banks. During Todd’s commentary about the various things that need to get accomplished, he mentions interviews that are required of him backstage, does one, and then returns to us moments before the first walk.

There’s clapping and last-minute details. Even during the walk, Todd allows our cameras to stay with him. He points out with interesting details and even has a model remove her lumpy undergarments, which he sticks into his back pocket. We’ve talked to Cindy during shows, but a designer’s stakes are different and this is the closest we’ve been to the enormous pressure.

Just minutes later it’s over. The leathers, stripes, metallic brocades, sequins and quilted satins are well-received by no less than Ivana Trump and Susan Sarandon. A broken heel sends Todd into peals of laughter. We watch models as they ask to borrow clothes for various parties, and we have a new appreciation of Todd for his kindness and cool demeanor.



seventeen magazine

'Seventeen' magazine Fashion Editor Marie Moss at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

With Cindy, we’ve sat front row and learned what it’s like to wear the hat of a fashion editor, but the other person who is politically entitled to prominent placement in the seating arrangement is the buyer. Here we talk to Kim Koshiol, buyer at Bloomingdales, and compare her experiences with those of Marie Moss, the senior fashion editor at Seventeen. This is a new target age group for us, and an important one since we're MTV so it’s interesting to note how high-fashion trends are adaptable for the teen fashion world.

When shopping for a department store, the entire collection must be considered for its overall appeal, price and quality. Instead of matching themes for an editorial shoot, the line has to be featured together on the sales floor, so cohesiveness must be considered.

For the fashion editor, trends across several different designers have to gel so that story ideas can be developed throughout the season and honed through additional showroom visits. What the 16 and 17-year-old girl will take away from the runway differs from the response of an older more affluent customer and styles need to assessed based on what will trickle down.

We interview designer Yeohlee Teng, who mentions that the fashion editor and buyer work in tandem. You need the editors in order to get your message out, and you need the buyers to get the clothes out. Longevity has to be considered. Betsey Johnson has good relationships with her buyers, and though her eponymous line recently filed for bankruptcy (much to our dismay) her runway trends have always resonated with The Youngs.

Most of the trends are texturally — or color-driven — basically, nothing that can't be mimicked across price points. For fall, it’s mixed textures, matching matte with shine, leather with suede, and the color brown. Betsey, of course, bucks trends, and makes a major play for hyper-color cowgirl.



fashion cafe

Models Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Elle MacPherson at the opening of The Fashion Café in 1995.
Photo: MTV

In 1995, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Elle MacPherson opened a restaurant devoted to fashion in Rockefeller Center. It was during the heyday of Hard Rock, and models were still fetching multimillion-dollar deals, so it’s understandable that naming plates of shrimp after beautiful women and showing runway footage while peddling buffalo wings wasn’t immediately noticed as being a total fiasco.

We know now that the investors were shady, and a couple of years later would be indicted as money launderers, but even in food critic Ruth Reichl’s write up for the New York Times, she nails the major problem with the business model: Fashion imagery makes you feel conflicted about eating middle-of-the-road bar food and Oreo-branded cheesecake. During the launch party, we admire displays of jewelry, iconic dresses and David Copperfield’s hair while he talks about how stoked he is (UM, remember when he and Claudia were engaged for a zillion years?). Something about the intersection of these factors and a ominous quote from music and fashion legend Malcolm McLaren (i.e. “[this is] probably the end of fashion as we know it”) makes for a vivid jumping-the-shark moment for the ’90s Supermodel. The Fashion Café would close three years later, but not before Naomi renounced her involvement by refusing to appear at events or be caught dead in the midtown restaurant. A promotional leather jacket from Fashion Café cost $1,500, whereas the most expensive item on the menu would set you back $18.95.



sibyl buck

Model Sibyl Buck gives her opinion on bad fashion show etiquette at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

This is the turning point in our Fashion Week coverage, as House of Style keeps it all too real regarding the drawbacks of the event. There are definitely some ugly moments in championing beautiful design, and we actually get to hear how loud it is in the press risers and backstage at the show. Wavy-haired, power-drunk producers and security people are rude and flagrantly abusive. People get trampled as spectators exit and enter the spaces. We even hear from Sibyl Buck that she and other models suspect designers of recycling used G-strings, and there’s a moment of Sandra Bernhard losing her mind at Michael Musto on the topic of sexuality. After the mayhem, however, everyone comments on how low-key this season has been compared to others. We get the impression that Fashion Week is like childbirth. Everyone forgets how excruciating it all is the moment it’s over.



marc jacobs

Marc Jacobs had the best suits of the Fall 1995 collections.
Photo: MTV

It’s all about the headkerchief in every fabric from cotton to leather. The models at Miu Miu are morose. Marc Jacobs and other designers celebrate the lady and show a great deal of shrewdly cut suits without any of the vestigial influence of the ’80s power suit. There is, of course, the deeply upsetting ubiquity of the most fuggo shoe silhouette from the mid-’90s: the calf-length boot with a kitten heel. Barf. Also, CANKLES.



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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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kurt loder

MTV News anchor Kurt Loder gets a 'House of Style' makeover from designer John Bartlett in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 43
Title: Fall Edition
Original Airdate: 10/16/95
Appearances: Kurt Loder, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, John Bartlett, Kate Moss, Chris Farley, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Scott Wolf, Oprah Winfrey, Naughty by Nature


Giving MTV’s baritone news authority, Kurt Loder, a makeover sounds innocent and straightforward enough, but this piece rules ups the ante because the designers show up to do the styling themselves. House of Style has gotten popular enough on its own merit that we no longer go onto the field to visit with designers in their natural habitats in order to create a documentary-feel to the story. We rarely see Loder in this light, so that’s fun, but the takeaway is that designers—Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, and John Bartlett—are asked to present their collections and their personalities. Not only are they being judged on the merits of their clothes, but their eponymous brands need to convey character as well. It introduces a competitive aspect that makes this a significant precursor to industry-specific reality TV. This is Project Runway being born, not to mention the fashion-acting double threat (Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, Lauren Conrad, Whitney Port). Kurt Loder dressed in Betsey Johnson faux fur coats is entertaining for sure, and who doesn’t love the maxi-madras print of a John Bartlett suit? But this “treating Kurt Loder like a paper doll” gag means more to future trends in broadcast and transparency. Plus, Kurt Loder’s hair has never looked more amazing.



kate moss

Model Kate Moss launches her book, 'Kate' in 1995.
Photo: MTV

It’s a huge deal that the locus of power shifted to allow an art book to be based on the popularity of the model and not the brand name of a photographer. Publishers are approaching models at the time this episode was produced, and Kate Moss’s book spans the past five years of her burgeoning career. In this segment, we show Kate walking around a room filled with her photographs, and some of her more notorious tabloid clippings. The wall display, which may have been arranged for a launch party, is interesting because it allows Kate Moss the model to talk about Kate the image with a greater sense of distance.

That fracturing of self is interesting. It’s akin to Helmut talking about his himself in the third person or when Beyoncé performs as Sasha Fierce. It’s subtle, but instead of asking models what their life philosophies are or how long things take at shows, we get an insight into the 19-year-old mind of a very young and very famous model through her own testimony about how she regards her face. She’s incredibly insightful and unguarded. Kate notes that photographers often don’t like to show her smiling, and that she loves seeing how her image changes according to the shot because she likes when she can’t recognize herself. “It’s not really me,” she says of the pages in her book. “They’re just images that the photographers portray me as.”

Kate seems well-adjusted despite her infamy and the heightened scrutiny from British papers (their press then being the equivalent to our tabloids and TMZ now), and doesn’t seem to feel any real ownership of the version of herself being portrayed by Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh and Nick Knight. “They don’t see who you are,” she says. “The more visible they make you, the more invisible the true you is.”



jean claude van damme

Actor Jean Claude Van Damme and Darcy LaPier share their favorite flea market find in 1995.
Photo: MTV

This is awesome because it’s a classic case of hitting a press line for an event with a question that famous people are not remotely interested in answering. We’ve included the clip here mostly so you can see a young Scott Wolf, as well as Bruce Willis and Demi Moore as a couple. The question is: What’s the last thing you got at a flea market? It serves as an interesting litmus test for how much patience people have and what they think of MTV. Chris Farley asks us “what we’re on.” Jean Claude Van Damme tells us it’s a stupid question. Alice Cooper, Little Richard and Oprah, on the other hand, are extremely patient and professional.



naughty by nature

Shopping with Treach of Naughty by Nature in Newark, New Jersey in 1995.
Photo: MTV

We hit up Newark with East Orange’s finest, Treach and Vin Rock of Naughty By Nature. We visit their store, which sells their in-house line, Naughty Gear. This is most like the Luscious Jackson shopping segment in that we get to check out stores the rappers would normally spend time in. They give us advice on how to layer oversized clothing, and it’s all very sincere and servicey, but the best part has to be when Vin and Treach call out local designers — including April Walker of Walker Wear, and Brother Mac One, who has an airbrushed T-shirt atelier.

Most of America may only know the group as a one- or two-hit wonder, but these guys made a huge impact within the rap community (seriously, see how often Treach’s name comes up as rappers’ top rappers), so for Treach and Vinnie to extol the virtues of returning to your neighborhood to promote local business is a huge deal. “When it came time for us to put up a business,” says Vin, “we wanted to start in here, back in the hood. Hopefully, it can encourage other people around the way to put their business here.”

It’s an earnest, credible gesture, so it’s no surprise that they would want to show off their neighborhood to MTV viewers. We go to a shoe store, where the two buy boots, and then we even go to their local hardware store to get a real-life length of industrial chain and a padlock. These guys weren’t about wearing diamond flooded necklaces; they wore chains and brought House of Style along with them to Jersey Janitorial Supplies to prove it. The chains and the padlock pendant signify that their thoughts are with those doing time in jail.



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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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