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jean paul gaultier

Designer Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 3 Episode: 12
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 12/18/91
Appearances: Jean Paul Gaultier, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld, Ellen Von Unwerth


From his TV interviews last fall with Lady Gaga to his current role as creative director of Diet Coke, few designers have become pop culture icons quite like Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s a marvel that the platinum-tressed couturier, who blazed onto the fashion scene in the '70s (he apprenticed under Pierre Cardin, launched his first prêt-à-porter collection in 1976 and went onto couture in 1999), has retained relevance and notoriety as the enfant terrible of the French fashion industry for over 30 years. In 1985, he introduced sharply cut, midi-length skirt suits for men; in the ’90s, he famously created the cone bra for Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour. This year, the two tow-headed stars have joined forces again: Gaultier outfitted her Madgesty for the MDNA world tour.

In this segment, Cindy goes to Paris to discuss taboo, the origin of Gaultier's fixation with corsetry and his reasons for making gender-bending fashion. Jean Paul Gaultier is honest and affable with zero pretension and it’s easy to see why, all these decades later there’s still joy to be found in Gaultier’s designs. It's unsurprising that new and exciting talents like Gaga still clamor to work with him.



linda evangelista

Model Linda Evangelista in Chanel at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Maybe it’s because it’s the Paris fashion episode, or because it’s a couple of years after our first supermodel interview, but Linda is the first model we speak to who has a firm grasp on how famous she is. Also, it strikes me that she speaks in technical terms regarding her work not unlike an actor talking to James Lipton on Inside The Actor’s Studio. Linda always wanted to be a model, even as a child, and in this segment she makes the interesting claim that models—especially the supermodels of the time—are like actresses, except that they are captured in still images rather than moving pictures. It should also be noted that the distinction is important—some would go on to pursue successful acting careers and others would have more trouble with dialogue.

During the ’90s, as the names of models, photographers and even fashion editors became more well-known, the magazine cover was the domain of the model, and not of the actress, as it is these days. Linda cites her versatility as a reason she’s such a cover and ad campaign mainstay. Legendary photographer Steven Meisel (in a rare on camera interview) confirms this assessment, and praises how completely she immerses herself in each character. We see that a change in hair color and clothes alters her look drastically. Linda also says that her mercurial appearance makes up for her lack of “All-American appeal” since she doesn't have the “button nose” or the “wheat-colored hair” that was so popular when she was growing up in Ontario, Canada. It's funny because it never occurred to me that looking like Linda Evangelista could ever be a crutch. Especially in Ontario, Canada. JKJKJKJK.



paris fashion week

Model Naomi Campbell in hair and makeup backstage at Paris Fashion Week in 1991.
Photo: MTV

We're backstage again, this time to unveil the secrets of Paris Fashion Week. There's a tangle of cameras jockeying for position on the press risers, and the close quarters reveal crews of models in various stages of preparation. Cindy dubs it as “glamorous as a supermarket sale,” and breaks down the math of how much the event costs: the invitations to “1800 fashion editors and 600 buyers in 42 countries,” the ushers, the location, the presents and, of course, the models. A single show can set a designer back $150,000, and the top-grossing girl can make upwards of $5,000 per show (this is, of course, in 1991 dollars and only an indication as to how much designers spend now). Christy Turlington justifies the math thusly: “When you look at it in terms of business and how much money we’re bringing in for companies, I think that our couple of thousand dollars are meager.” Karl Lagerfeld agrees: “They are the image-making persons of today," he says. "They are like the goddesses of the silent screen.”

Backstage, models are crammed beside racks, and everyone is smoking. On the runway for Spring 1992, we see frou-frou lace dusters for the pin-up, campy lingerie look. This is the year Chanel showed staid, predictable, box-suit silhouettes, but in cheeky pastel terry cloth. It’s also the season of Herve Leger’s first show. Michael Hutchence of INXS describes the prepping for such pageantry as “a hundred women getting ready for dinner—it’s terrifying.”



ellen von unwerth

Photographer Ellen Von Unwerth in 1991.
Photo: MTV

This is a beautiful, fun segment that illustrates at several points, the difference between a fashion editorial with actresses and one case with models. If you’ve ever been on-set for a celebrity fashion shoot, you can immediately see the difference. Models know what they look like. If you’ve ever seen America’s Next Top Model, you’ll know how challenging it is for a subject to look fantastic, while engaging in an activity and how critical it is to be able to command body language and facial expressions according to the demands of the photographer. It's in intuition, experience and anticipating that shutter snap. Here Karen Mulder plays a raven-haired Jane Russell and Eva Herzigova plays Marilyn Monroe. They romp around in cars, lounge in a hotel room, and pose with loads of cigarettes. The models are in their element.

Ellen's easy way with models may stem from her starting her career as one. A burgeoning interest in photography led to a campaign with British designer Katharine Hamnett. Ellen is generally considered one of the most dynamic photographers in the fashion industry (both then and now), and it’s fascinating to see how relaxed and personable she is behind the camera. She smiles a lot and her instructions are either casually gestured or a single word left open for interpretation (like "flamenco"), and you can see why, when you’re half naked on a set or in public, Ellen’s style might be confidence building. It’s also what gives Ellen Von Unwerth’s photographs an immensely voyeuristic appeal. She lets the actions run while she chooses what to capture. The end result is often like a scene from a movie, and this Italian Vogue spread that's inspired by the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes may be stylized in costume but appears totally spontaneous.



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alexander mcqueen

Designer Alexander McQueen at London Fashion Week in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 58
Title: London Edition
Original Airdate: 4/1/97
Appearances: Antonio Berardi, Hussein Chalayan, Clements Ribeiro, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Cindy Crawford


British designers are super complicated and cerebral. Case in point: When we talk to Antonio Berardi and he informs us that his collection is about “voodoo and the Gunpowder plot.” Sold! But also, what?

In this rapid-fire tour through the greatest designing minds showing at London, we have the privilege of talking to Hussein Chalayan (later to be the designer of the Lady Gaga Grammys egg) about his Fall/Winter 1997 collection, inspired by seeing the weather as “some kind of god.” It translates into cobwebby, floor-skimming dresses with exaggeratedly long sleeves and turtlenecks. There are also impeccably-cut fluid capes of varying length.

Clements Ribeiro shows leather dresses as well as an interesting maxi seersucker effect on some trousers (the vertical, wrinkly line bits are magnified). Vivienne Westwood shows structured, ladylike suits, plaids, strong shoulders and canny layers for her Red Label. She, of course, also offers up the best quotes. “I love to have these girls looking like little ladies ready to enter the world,” she says. “Instead of wasting their time jumping around in sloppy, horrible clothes.”

Workers for Freedom, the now defunct brand created by partners Richard Nott and Graham Fraser, showed a brilliant line that called attention to tonal dressing in North Africa, and tailored silhouettes with tie closures for a fluid wraparound look that was SO NOT British and so quietly exciting. There’s Owen Gaster with characteristically English suiting, pencil skirts, precision tailoring and box pleats.

And then we have a quick interview with Alexander McQueen about his “It’s A Jungle Out There” collection. We're shown live footage of the pony skin jacket with impala horns that was featured in his posthumous Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met and beautiful pelts fashioned into Flintstonian smocks. There's enormous hair teased into wild manes, fur burnout brocade that makes my brain bleed to consider the labor, catsuits that move with surreal tensile fluidity and floor-length pony dresses that a Dothraki queen would give her and her blood riders' eyeteeth for. “It’s about humans being savages,” says McQueen. “The cavemen; this is how they clothed themselves. They didn’t have a sewing machine in a hundred million years B.C. I do these things for a reason. I don’t do it because of some blasé fashion thing.”



john galliano cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford interviews Christian Dior designer John Galliano in 1997.
Photo: MTV

While we’re at London fashion week, Cindy’s in Paris with the designer John Galliano to interview him as the head of the House of Dior. The designer talks about Christian Dior (the inventor of the New Look), in hallowed terms and says he sees Dior as “God.” Dior used to show 200 outfits at his atelier, with some collections taking over two hours to run through. Galliano may not be as prolific, but he did bring tremendous success to both his line and to Dior during most of his tenure. It’s interesting to see Galliano’s incredible technique evolve as it melds with the most notable influences of the esteemed fashion house. Galliano brings his love of the bias cut to Dior, but this time all the slipperiness is anchored by foundation garments. The effect is palpably different — a little more serious. We accompany Cindy to her fitting and the segment ends too quickly. I could watch an hour of Galliano in his heyday and it makes me terribly sad to think about what's become of him since.



voyage boutique london

Daisy Fuentes and model Karen Mulder visit Voyage boutique in London with owners Tiziano and Louise Mazzilli in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Opened in London by husband and wife Tiziano and Louise Mazzilli in 1991, Voyage gained notoriety for its expensive clothing (a silk dress was about $1,000 with coats costing about $2,500), and for turning away customers like Madonna, Julia Roberts and Naomi Campbell. The collection was only offered in one size, no fashion designers were ever allowed in and customers were permitted entry on an invitation-only basis. In 1996, it was reported that the Mazzillis had made over $10 million in sales, but by 2002, Voyage was about 3 Million GBP in debt. The store is now shuttered, and the couple have since divorced. According to fashion insiders, the company was spending wildly, as evidenced by full-page ads, taken out in prominent magazines, that featured members of their family. There’s a great one in the Daily Mail with their kids Tatum and Rocky posing in front of a Union Jack dressed like raver pirates. They’re also referred to as British fashion’s “Addams Family.” “The whole ad campaign was so self-indulgent,” says a source, “with the family striking these creepy poses.” It seems they don’t advertise to create business, they advertise through pure vanity. They’re essentially the original Kardashians, but with one key difference: They’re actually incredible designers.

(Warning: medium-sized tangent ahead so feel free to stray.) I can’t help it, I think this family is amazing. There’s a pretty recent wardrobe visit with Tiziano on StyleLikeU, where he shows us his Savile Row vests, bedazzled Puma Clydes (that he mistakenly calls Nikes), a skull Lego Jesus piece, a massive, plastic engagement ring bracelet (because he’s “engaged with himself”), and an exquisite metallic python moto jacket that looks like chainmail. Tatum and Rocky, his daughter and his son (respectively), have grown up to become designers as well. Tatum has a laser-cut acrylic jewelry line called Funky Bling; Rocky, who has long green hair and wears a grip of tribal face paint and lipstick, has a line called Year Zero. It is beloved by Nicki Minaj and 2NE1. Rocky designs it with his mother, who now has bright yellow hair, a shorn portion of which is dyed to resemble animal print. All four wear heaps of plastic jewelry, making them look like an 8bit MDMA fever dream.

(Note: Tangent over.) Voyage was masterful. Granted, the offerings were outrageously expensive and the family’s eccentricities were a bit much, but in this segment you can’t deny that a dress Daisy Fuentes (our new host for a couple of episodes) and Karen Mulder can both try on is nothing short of magical. If you looked at the recent video of Tiziano and Louise, you’ll be shocked at how they look in this segment. They both look so normal. Tiziano is wearing silk pajamas (very S/S 2012) and Louise has politician-lady hair. I can’t accurately speak on what their collection looked like in later years, but in 1997 this couple knew how to whip up a tissue-thin dress that looks divine and plays opaque against skin. There’s one dress that Karen calls a work of art. It looks as if a lightning bolt and a rainbow shining off an oil slick made a baby. It’s unbelievable. But the best part of this footage is that there’s something so down-to-earth and unpolished about Daisy that she doesn't give a crap about pricetags when she grabs whatever she feels like trying on. You can feel the Mazzillis’ side eye and it buuuuuuurns.



london street style

London band Everything But The Girl in 1997.
Photo: MTV

According to everyone we talk to in London, and interviews with Goldie and Bjork as well as Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl, all British young persons are wearing vintage clothing. There are secondhand blazers, tattered faux fur coats inherited from moms, plaid pants, old-school anoraks and studded leather jackets. As for footwear, it’s pretty much the same over there as it was here—adidas, Pumas, creepers and Dr Martens. There’s a bit of good-natured ribbing as to who’s got better style, Brits or Americans, but it’s actually hilarious to see that kids in London and kids in New York are all too broke to buy flashy new duds, and are dyeing their own hair for a quick makeover because the rent is too damn high on both sides of the pond.



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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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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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