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carolyn murphy

Model Carolyn Murphy on the runway in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 46
Title: January Edition
Original Airdate: 1/29/96
Appearances: Carolyn Murphy, Spacehog, Lauren Martinez and Anne Christensen ('Vogue')

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: CAROLYN MURPHY

This shouldn’t be taken as an invective against Carolyn Murphy’s character but this interview kinda bums me out. The model is extremely versatile, and both Joe Zee (then associate fashion editor at W) and makeup artist Laura Mercier mention in voiceovers that a large part of her magic is that you can do anything with her. They praise her look for essentially being a blank canvas. Carolyn Murphy is beautiful, and I like her hair and the throwback Prada spring 1996 suiting that she’s wearing here. I even like her print campaign from the season, as I do all of the ads she appeared in for Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Estee Lauder, Tiffany & Co., Calvin Klein and Max Mara over the years.

The issue is that I don't love her. Her face is hard to read. I believe that she was a tomboy as she recounts in our interview, but I don’t believe her older brother gives her swirlies on her visits home. The expectations for what models say in mainstream broadcast interviews are very much established at this point, and even though you feel Todd's warmth there’s nothing in this interview that feels special or revealing. I miss Naomi in zit cream talking about her future husband.

+ WATCH CAROLYN MURPHY


MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING WITH SPACEHOG

spacehog

Brothers Royston and Antony Langdon of Spacehog at Smilin' Nylon in New York City in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Most of what I know about Spacehog comes from Liv Tyler's five year-marriage to bass player and singer Royston Langdon. That said, this segment is charming. There isn’t too much of a service element, since it’s basically about a bunch of English dudes riffing on clothes they’re obviously not keen on wearing for real, but the camaraderie is entertaining, and we get to look at some great New York stores when W. 8th Street was a whole different story, before NYU set on it like a boa constrictor swallowing an egg. Here we have Antony Langdon, Jonny Cragg, the aforementioned Royston and Richard Steel at a now defunct store called Smiling Nylon and The Eye, an aptly named eyeglasses boutique. It is a romp through “very lurid,” gender-bendy, flammable clothing and bug-eyed sunglasses.

+ WATCH SPACEHOGS SHOPPING


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: RAIDING THE 'VOGUE' FASHION CLOSET

anne christensen lauren martinez

'Vogue' Fashion Editor Anne Christensen and Senior Market Editor Lauren Martinez in the 'Vogue' fashion closet in 1996.
Photo: MTV

OK, this is not the fashion closet of Ugly Betty’s Mode magazine. Nor is this the well-lit, rack-filled paradise in a fantasy Vogue that pays Carrie Bradshaw $5/word. This is the real-life Vogue closet (before such closet tours were everywhere on the internet and demanded that all your sneakers be color-coordinated in tidy cubbies… ahem, GQ) and the tour is conducted by the lovely Anne Christensen (presently the Executive Fashion Director at Glamour) and Lauren Martinez (who, in a particularly fashiony move would go on to marry a Dupont [of the textile magnate Duponts]). The lighting is suboptimal and there are moments when the room is reminiscent of a grandparent’s attic, but we do get a lovely look at the mixed prints, shrunken sweaters, dyed leathers and retro colors that were huge in spring 1996.

Speaking of grandparents’ attics, many of the clothes harken back to the browns, moss greens and burnt oranges of the polyester housedresses and retro kitchen appliances ubiquitous in previous decades, and it’s interesting to see how the runway shows of the year are celebrating clothes that look thrifted and are mismatched. Spring 1996 fashion in a nutshell? The ouroboros of a Vogue editor wearing a beautiful Prada coat that looks like it came from a charity shop advising us on how to thrift a similar look. Where is Todd Oldham when you need him?

+ WATCH THE 'VOGUE' CLOSET


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TOM FORD KILLS IT AT GUCCI

tom ford gucci

Model Linda Evangelista in Gucci by Tom Ford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

As a huge Madonna fan, I was absolutely blown away by how incredible she looked at the 1995 VMAs, when she rocked up to the stage in a satin turquoise Gucci blouse unbuttoned to reveal a sheer bra, and low-slung black trousers, with her blonde hair pouffed and pinned in a half pony. It was fashion magic. Tom Ford had been hired as the Creative Director for Gucci in 1994, and during his first several seasons, he was a beast who seemed to know exactly what type of sexiness we wanted from the then somewhat fusty Italian fashion brand and leather goods label.

Ford came out of the gate hard, channeling the enthusiasm for retro-chic with slightly belled sleeves on micro-mini dresses; sumptuous fabrics like satin and burnout velvet; and wickedly cut trousers. THe knew that a wrapped leather cord that resembled a bolo would look cool and ease us out of our choker rut and injected real glamour back into the house during a time when everyone else was doing quirk. His ads, styled by Carine Roitfeld and shot by Mario Testino, were impeccable, and between 1995 and 1996, the company’s sales increased by 90%.

This runway footage is a continuation of an aesthetic and attitude that Tom Ford mastered during his tenure at the label.

+ WATCH TOM FORD FOR GUCCI


MUSIC AND FASHION: THE FIRST FASHIONABLY LOUD

shalom harlow

Model Shalom Harlow walks in the first Fashionably Loud in 1996.
Photo: MTV

The marriage of music and fashion culminates in the first “Fashionably Loud” that aired in February, 1996. This clip is regrettably brief because of various licensing issues but we thought we’d at least give you a quick glimpse if for no other reason than to see Brandy Norwood walk a runway. It was an-hour long MTV show and for this inaugural event, Chris Isaak hosted. There were models galore with Cindy, Shalom, Amber,Helena, Kate, Linda, Naomi as well as musician-turned-model Debbie Harry. Milla Jovovich our stunning special correspondent pulled double duty to walk and interview audience members.

The designing lineup was just as stellar with collections from Marc Jacobs, Todd Oldham and Anna Sui. The models walked in time to live performances from Coolio, Filter and Elastica (MAJOR girlcrush on Justine Frischmann [ed note: UM, remember when she dated Brett Anderson and founded Suede and then dated Damon Albarn from Blur and inspired a GRIP of music and then co-wrote Arular with her roomie M.I.A? No? Learn about it. Stat.). Totally going to go off and listen to “Connection” right now. That guitar riff is EVERYTHING.

+ WATCH FASHIONABLY LOUD


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 46

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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

MUSIC AND FASHION: THE SPICE GIRLS GO TO THE MALL

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.

+ WATCH PAT SMEAR WITH THE SPICE GIRLS


MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: ANNIE MORTON

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.

+ WATCH ANNIE MORTON


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: LAURA MERCIER SHOWS US SPRING MAKEUP FOR 1997

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.

+ WATCH LAURA MERCIER ON MAKEUP


THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK: VALENTINE'S DAY

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.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

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

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 56

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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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