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lil kim

Photographer Terry Richardson shoots rapper Lil' Kim for 'Visionaire' magazine in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 57
Title: Prom Edition
Original Airdate: 3/4/97
Appearances: Lil' Kim, Terry Richardson, Nina Gordon (Veruca Salt), Louise Post (Veruca Salt)

MUSIC AND FASHION: TERRY RICHARDSON SHOOTS LIL’ KIM FOR 'VISIONAIRE'

I hate to harp on the nostalgia of revisiting House of Style, but can we please take a moment to proclaim how hot Lil’ Kim was? SO HOT. Never mind that she’s half-naked and FLOODED in a million dollars worth of diamonds for this Visionaire shoot, but the young rapper is bright-eyed and excited, which makes this footage extra major. Now, I’d like to direct your attention to Terry Richardson because he doesn’t look like Terry Richardson yet. Did you think that the photographer walked out of the womb in a buffalo plaid shirt, jeans, glasses and full facial hair with his thumbs up? I did.

It’s also exciting that this segment predates the term “bling bling” by two whole years so we don't have to hear everyone who doesn't listen to rap or even know who B.G. is repeat it uncontrollably in an annoying way. Yay!

+ WATCH LIL' KIM WITH TERRY RICHARDSON

Lil Kim With Terry Richardson | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

MUSIC AND FASHION: VERUCA SALT DOES PROM

veruca salt

Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt dress up for prom in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Prom is like the Seether: You can’t fight it. It doesn’t matter how cool and disaffected you are: If the prospect of getting dressed up in a shiny frock for a special, glamorous night with your friends does nothing for you, you're probably dead inside. Sorry.

Anyway, the thing I love about Veruca Salt’s Louise Post and Nina Gordon doing this is that they’re both weirdly into it, and get progressively more into it despite how strange the lighting is for the whole operation. The ladies dress up in varying styles—animal-print slips from Jessica McClintock’s saucier side and black chiffon Anna Sui party dresses—and each take turns modeling while the other announces their arrival like a beauty pageant MC. There’s a scene where lipstick is smeared everywhere like a Soundgarden video, and a part where the ladies dance around in white satin gowns like brides gone wild. There’s plenty of great ’90s formalwear touches like chokers, chinoiserie, half-pony updos, bias-cut everything, and really complicated headgear with butterflies mounted on snippets of wire. They both look deranged as they jump around with guitars, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s every bit a YouTube video thrown together by bored besties who are playing dress-up, and the fact that it’s made by kickass, unselfconscious musicians from Chicago is why it rules.

+ WATCH VERUCA SALT MODEL

Veruca Salt Models | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

DEMYSTIFYING STYLE: SUSAN CIANCIOLO BREAKS DOWN THE PROM DRESS

susan cianciolo

Artist Susan Cianciolo creates anti-prom dresses in 1997.
Photo: MTV

I’d never seen this episode before and was extra-curious to see how it turned out when I read that House of Style had enlisted an artist to create three “anti-prom dresses” from salvaged and industrial materials that cost less than $100. There were too many qualifiers, too many buzzwords that signaled potential disaster, especially when thrown together in 1997. I have to be honest: I was half-expecting this to end up looking like Mugatu’s Derelicte collection, and I was wrong.

Susan Cianciolo is an extraordinary maker of things. She attended Parsons and spent time working with Kim Gordon on X-Girl before starting her own line, Run, in 1995. The first collection featured Chloë Sevigny in deconstructed clothes, and each subsequent collection (dubbed Run 2, Run 3 and so on) featured unusual, refreshing design details. Despite critical acclaim, Susan left fashion in 2001 to concentrate on other art forms, choosing to make commissioned couture only for select clients.

In 2006, Susan returned to fashion. That is, she returned to using textile as a medium with an exhibition with a denim company. Small collections have followed since, each incorporating an element of performance art. Susan’s interdisciplinary approach can be seen in her F/W 2011 collection, which was formatted and presented as a play.

I know I’m going on, but check out this fantastic article in Index magazine, with illustrator Dame Darcy reading her palm; she describes Susan’s design process as “hand-stitching everything to the point of dementia.” I want to properly set up why this video is cool, so here’s another great quote from a Vice interview by Jaclyn Hodes in 2008:

“All my work is draped for hours and hours. Exactly how it’s sitting on the body is the most important part of the dress, even after all the research and the hours of embroidery and beadings. I’ve spent weeks and weeks on some of the dresses doing the same things over and over. It’s all about finding out how it hits the body in just the way that’s complementary and beautiful. People have always said to me that the clothes are sexy and this could be why, because I’m always thinking so much about body shapes.”

I’m not certain how much footage there is in the world of Susan draping, but this one is targeted as a service piece for young people, which I find especially exciting. Susan narrates the entire process as she creates three distinct, beautiful dresses. She mutters in this rhythmic monotone, and it’s like watching a tiny, industrious bird with OCD as she builds a series of nests. While Susan winds ribbons of fabric and panels of vellum on the model, the suspense builds. With each added layer, we discover something new, and the impression of improvisation is a deception. There are multiple sketches, notes, and plans that accompany the process as the garment comes to fruition, and it’s like watching from the inside of Susan’s head if she were wearing an Iron Man helmet.

There are torn stockings, painted panels and cheesecloth. Excess pieces of fabric are tucked and tied away, and if I were an aspiring designer making a dress at the time, I would’ve found it empowering to watch real footage of a real artist making a profoundly romantic, imperfect dress. It’s a wonderful display of ingenuity and weirdness.

+ WATCH SUSAN CIANCIOLO'S ANTI PROM

Susan Cianciolo's Anti Prom | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

MUSIC AND FASHION: PAT SMEAR AND KURT LODER GET ETIQUETTE LESSONS

Our special correspondant Pat Smear and MTV News anchor Kurt Loder learn etiquette lessons from the pearl-strung, stiff-haired Letitia Baldridge on the dos and don'ts of dining. Kurt looks hot in a tux and Pat looks fetching in a black turtleneck. They goof off, Pat smokes his face off and chucks his butt into his soup and the segment ends with the two men slow dancing.

+ WATCH ETIQUETTE LESSONS

Etiquette Lessons | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 57

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lil kim

Rapper Lil Kim models fabulous summer swimsuits in 2000.
Photo: MTV

Season: 12 Episode: 71
Title: Sexy Summer Layout
Original Airdate: 5/17/00
Sightings: Lil Kim, Molly Sims, Cynthia Rowley

MUSIC AND FASHION: LIL KIM TRIES ON BATHING SUITS

lil kim

Rapper Lil Kim models fabulous summer swimsuits in 2000.
Photo: MTV

OK, so hardcore Lil Kim Stans are going to bug, because here is Queen Bee, right before the release of her Notorious K.I.M. album, and she’s modeling her favorite swimsuits of the season. First of all, Kim’s body is BANGING. Serving obliques for days. And this is without airbrushing or anything. Anyone who’s a fan of wigs or gaudy bathing suits circa 2000 will adore this clip as well, since Kim kicks it off in a Gucci monogram trench coat in the classic colors. First, there’s a bright orange cut-out one-piece that covers the navel, but is low-slung enough to accentuate her hips. Accessories are added, and a vibrant, layered wig. Then all practicality is jettisoned in the name of looking fly, because the next one is a turquoise, bedazzled, SUEDE bikini with a matching prehistoric-looking sarong, a matching wig (that I’m also positive she wore for the XXL cover where she’s covered in soap suds) , and a frosted lip. Then there’s a turquoise python bikini with, wait for it, puffs of furry mink at the ties.

lil kim

Rapper Lil Kim models fabulous summer swimsuits in 2000.
Photo: MTV

A black Dolce & Gabbana bikini is offered up as a dressier option, since it features pearl necklaces that encircle the waist. Finally, a patent leather embossed crocodile boy short situation is deemed "great for parties." The cut is trendy for the season, and the extra coverage is suitable for the outdoors (at least it is according to Kim).

Kim then shills her album, dropping in mere weeks, and it’s weird to take stock of how much the House of Style has changed as interest in models waned. What would have normally been a magazine shoot with a behind-the-scenes element about the photographer is now a standalone video editorial with a performer who has the added agenda of publicizing a project. The celebrity of a model no longer holds the same cachet with our audience.

+ WATCH LIL' KIM MODEL SWIMSUITS

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 71

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jay-z rocawear

Rebecca Romijn interviews rapper Jay-Z (in Rocawear) at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: MTV

Season: 11 Episode: VMA99
Title: House of Style at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, "A Night at the Opera"
Original Airdate: 9/11/99
Appearances: Jay-Z, Chris Rock, Lil Kim, Donatella Versace

MUSIC AND FASHION: JAY-Z WEARS ROCAWEAR ON THE RED CARPET

At this point, House of Style has evolved from being a fashion news show to becoming a red-carpet live report of MTV's major events. Here, Rebecca talks to Jay-Z at the 1999 VMAs. At the Movie Awards earlier that year, Jay had a more formal approach to his attire; our host remarks that he’s dressed down, to which he responds, “This is music, this is something I’m a part of,” implying that he can wear whatever the hell he likes in this arena. He also dubs his look “corporate thuggin’,” which of course calls to mind “So Ghetto” lyrics: “Jigga-Man you rich, take the doo-rag off… Won’t change for no paper, plus I been rich.”

This is kind of a big moment: Jay is debuting his Rocawear line with a red, blue and white outfit that’s not yet available in stores. Rebecca observes that he’s not quite wearing his clothes head-to-toe: He’s wearing Nikes. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing to the S. Carter Collection by RBK deal that he’d sign with Reebok in 2003. They became the fastest-selling sneaker in the company's history.

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: JAY-Z ON THE RED CARPET

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: CHRIS ROCK FINDS A HOSTING OUTFIT

chris rock

Comedian Chris Rock (in Calvin Klein) hosts the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: MTV

This is a quick peek behind the scenes at the VMAs, and a look into host Chris Rock’s outfit for that year. The comedian/actor’s stylist Amanda Sanders talks about their relationship with Calvin Klein, who outfitted Chris for his comedy special in a black leather outfit. The wardrobe choice is particularly important with regard to the lighting and how the outfit will play against different sets. For 1999, Rock opted for an off-white suit. It was a clean, sharp look that was just as rock n roll as black, but drew the eye and held your attention. Perfect for a monologue.

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: CHRIS ROCK IN CALVIN KLEIN

MUSIC AND FASHION: LIL KIM’S BOOB ATTENDS THE 1999 VMAs

lil kim

Rebecca Romijn interviews rapper Lil Kim (in a boobie onesie outfit) at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: MTV

Of all Queen Bee's outrageous outfits, her sheer, metallic, catsuit took the asymmetrical cake with a neckline that plunged to the point of revealing a boob in its entirety. The dress was designed by Kim’s stylist (and Diddy’s ex) Misa Hylton. Of course, the areola was covered with a matching sparkling modesty pastie, but of course this proved to be more a bullseye than a shield when Diana Ross copped a feel, jiggling the boob with her right hand to prove its buoyancy.

Oh, and her shoes were Steve Madden.

diana ross lil kim boobie

Lil Kim's boobie moment with Diana Ross at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999.
Photo: MTV/Gif: MTV

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: LIL' KIM'S ONESIE

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: DONATELLA VERSACE STANDS UP FOR THE STREETS

donatella versace

Rebecca Romijn interviews designer Donatella Versace at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: MTV

Donatella is amazing. In this clip, she’s asked about youth culture and personal style. Rebecca tries to goad her into talking about trends she dislikes or thinks will become regrettable, and our platinum-tressed hero never once takes the bait. “Anything they dare to do, they should do it,” she says. “I think kids in the street, they wear fantastic clothes. They have a good sense of style—especially in New York. I don’t think nothing is too crazy... as long as you enjoy it.” Correct.

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: DONATELLA VERSACE

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM VMA 1999/a>

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House Of Style

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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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