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claudia schiffer

Model Claudia Schiffer in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 2 Episode: 3
Title: Spring '90
Original Airdate: 2/17/90
Appearances: Claudia Schiffer, Giorgio Armani, Pam Hogg


claudia schiffer

Model Claudia Schiffer at the French 'Vogue' shoot in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Looking into the 19-year-old face of Claudia Schiffer is a weird experience. Especially when you consider that we meet her, in this segment, before she becomes a megastar and a major player in the supermodel industrial complex. Cindy even refers to her as the “Guess Jeans girl,” and the qualifier seems crazy since it’s been three decades, countless magazines, myriad billboards and miles of catwalk since this unknown from Dusseldorf starred in a black-and-white advertising campaign shot in Tennessee by the model-turned-photographer Ellen Von Unwerth.

This moment, captured in Paris during a French Vogue shoot, is right at the point when Schiffer’s been "chosen" (cue harp strumming and singing cherubs) by The Editors and The Photographers, but before she’s become a household name. It also makes one realize how infrequently we hear Claudia speak. It's not disappointing or incongruous at all (it's horribly jarring when that happens [see: David Beckham]). Turns out, she has a pleasant voice and a lilting German accent.

We see the Guess campaign shots: Claudia is the spit-and-image of Brigitte Bardot, except that she wears high-waisted faded blue jeans (mom jeans or irono hipster-lady jeans by contemporary standards). In March 2012, Guess re-released some of the original images to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the last of Claudia’s six campaigns. The iconic photos are presented alongside a new series shot in Italy and it's clear that Claudia lacks the decency to age like a regular human. You can’t really tell the difference because the appalling woman remains as taut and fresh-faced as ever.

In fact, Schiffer may have improved over the years. She confesses how nervous she was to walk for Chanel (her turns featured a cute, veering/speedy finish). She spins, bounces and smiles sheepishly. Even with the benefit of hindsight bias, it’s unsurprising that Claudia remains famous so many years later. It’s amusing, also, that Cindy’s voice-over speculates as to the new girl's staying power, musing about where she’ll be in ten years. “Married or going to school,” Claudia responds. “Have kids or something like that. What everybody does.” Ooooooooor there is always the option of becoming spectacularly famous.


giorgio armani

Designer Giorgio Armani on his new line Emporio Armani in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Giorgio Armani has always known exactly what he was doing. He has also always worn a tight black T-shirt in interviews. There’s something about the translator, and about the look of Mr. Armani’s face as a younger man, that make the interview feel a bit distant, especially since it sounds like he’s relaying schemes of world domination. Thing is, you can’t help but respect the Giorgio Armani brand for their diffusion strategy. Were you to chart the differences between Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, Armani Collezioni (white label) and Giorgio Armani (black label), you’ll see the entire low-high spectrum, most notably how each level caters to different, specific customers across all ages and price-points. Don't know about you, but this stuff really blows my skirt up.

In this segment, Mr. Armani discusses the recent launch of Emporio Armani (150 stores worldwide, with one in Manhattan at the time) and how it was created to be less expensive and youth-oriented. The runway footage selected to support this notion of a younger line rings sorta hilarious in 2012, since in 1990, most people, regardless of age, dressed like a 35-year-old tycoon. There are incredible double-breasted blazers that are streamlined due to their narrow lapels, with low-slung plackets and prints. The key here is the addition of logo tees and underwear, which was fantastically on-point for kids since this was a time when conspicuous aspirational branding was HUGE within youth culture. (Hello Calvin Klein).

It’s also genius that Armani discusses jeans, since it was a notable statement for anyone to send denim down the runway in Europe. Armani pushes the envelope further by showing a topless model. “I wanted the jeans to be the focus,” he says. “I like to entice and tease my customers with different variation on jeans, like how the kids on the streets personalize theirs. American youth has a great sense of style.” The man knows exactly to whom he was talking. Armani further differentiates Emporio from his other collections by pointedly steering clear of big-name girls:“I never use supergirls in my Emporio shows. The clothes should be the star… not the models.”



pam hogg london

Designer Pam Hogg in 1990.
Photo: MTV

We weren’t able to clear this segment due to music clearance issues, but I thought I’d touch upon it, since it features a rare interview (OK, more like three quotes) with Pam Hogg. And yes, I just really wanted the chance to talk about her because she rules and people should know about her. For the uninitiated, Pam Hogg is legendary on the London street style scene: look up her store, Hyper Hyper. Since 1990, she’s dressed Rihanna, Lily Allen, Siouxsie Sioux, Kylie Minogue, Jessie J, and Kate Moss, the last of whom wore a Hogg dress to last year’s NME awards. Hogg’s totally badass and has achieved full-fledged cult status in England; she’s also a director, screenwriter, actress and musician.

In this segment, Hogg’s in her store, rocking blonde dreadlocks; a floppy, furry animal-print hat; and a studded leather jacket with enormous, exaggerated lapels, AND THICK CHAIN FRINGE (suuuuuch a good idea, someone steal this and mass produce it right now [please don't talk to me about Balmain because I said "THICK" chain fringe and "mass produce"]); a ring tee; and a bunch of mixed silver and gold rings, with crucifixes dangling from her neck. Hogg offers this sage style advice: “It’s the attitude in who’s wearing the thing. I mean, some people can wear flares and look absolutely ridiculous, and other people know why they’re wearing them and they’ll last forever. It’s not a case of one thing is in and one thing is out…If you’re sensible and know the way you can actually dress, you can wear anything.” Preach.

The interview is interspersed with man-on-the-street interviews of kids running around Kings Cross and Camden Market. It’s notable for the style time capsule because we’re seeing flared, light blue jeans, hoodies, hats, MCM monogram, motorcycle jackets, overalls, oversized denim jackets, Dr. Martens and a Boy London T-shirt. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same stuff you’ve been seeing a resurgence of this year. Seriously, Boy London is EVERYWHERE right now (see: Rihanna photos and logo leggings at Patricia Field with T-shirts at The Cobrasnake store). Aaaaaaaand, speaking of Boy London, you should probably know that Boy London isn't '90s but a throwback to the 1970s, when Stephane Raynor first founded the fashion label for the punks and new romantics of the day. Much of the style feels surprisingly fresh. The hot-guy salesman in a skull scarf (classic Alexander McQueen much?) and a Native American patterned poncho would look divine on New York streets today. And by "today" I mean later this year since it is unseasonably hot this summer. Something, something global warming frowny face.


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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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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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