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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

RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: CLAUDIA SCHIFFER

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.

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: GIORGIO ARMANI CREATES THE EMPORIO ARMANI DIFFUSION LINE

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.”

+ WATCH THE START OF EMPORIO ARMANI


STREET STYLE: LONDON

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.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 3

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cindy crawford linda evangelista

Cindy Crawford interviews model Linda Evangelista backstage at the Giorgio di Sant' Angelo show in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 2 Episode: 4
Title: Summer '90
Original Airdate: 5/19/90
Appearances: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Veronica Webb, Franco Moschino

DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: BACKSTAGE AT MARTIN PRICE'S FIRST SHOW FOR GIORGIO DI SANT' ANGELO

There’s a lot going on backstage at this Martin Price show and even more that you don't see (don't worry, we'll get to it). It’s nearing the end of Fashion Week in New York, and you can register fatigue on the models’ faces. This is one of the segments where you get a real appreciation for Cindy’s access, not only as a model walking in the show but as a member of the supermodel clique. Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Yasmin LeBon and Veronica Webb are all backstage applying their own eye makeup or getting their hair done and it’s hectic. This is Cindy’s 20th show of the week. Linda has just returned from Milan Fashion Week, having “skipped Paris,” but she and Cindy discuss 12-hour days with six shows a day, which is a challenge, since Yasmin has recently had a baby. (LeBon maintains, however, that she’s “regressing,” despite Cindy’s comment that they’re not the kids anymore. Respect.) Cindy interviews the hair stylist about how many models he has to style for each show. He says it’s around 25 or 30.

It’s an inside look into Fashion Week for those curious about the industry, but it’s during a time when supermodels were becoming so famous that their lives influenced pop culture. You can’t help wondering whether something this “insidery” would’ve been interesting to the MTV audience prior to the supermodel phenomenon.

For fash-nerds who want to go deeper, there’s another layer to this particular show that you’re not immediately privy to. Martin Price is a designer who now teaches at Parsons, but he apprenticed under Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, who was also his partner. Giorgio passed in August 1989 of lung cancer. This collection the following year, was only the second since Giorgio’s death, with Martin at the helm designing under his name. In two more years, Martin would sell the trademark because the process became “too emotional.” He would donate the entire archive of clothing and accessories to the Met.

There’s a fantastic 2010 Q&A in Dazed and Confused written by Al Mulhall in which Martin talks about Giorgio, and though in this segment the clothes are very much secondary to the infamous women wearing them, I wanted to share a couple of quotes from Martin on Giorgio’s design philosophy, because it contextualizes the silhouettes.

"Giorgio was in tune with globalization and multiculturalism long before they became buzzwords… his aim was to really free women from the stiff, structured mod or futuristic shapes that were popular at the time. Giorgio liked to refer to these dresses as ‘boxes with zippers up the back,’ which always made us laugh. He wanted to empower women, and that’s why he referenced Greek goddesses.”

“I feel like that his brilliant use of stretch fabrics, along with wrapping and tying the female form with fabrics to simulate clothes, is his greatest mark.”

With this in mind, Martin’s collection of diaphanous cowls, impeccably draped sheaths, cross-back dresses and toga-reminiscent bathing suits is a lovely homage. At one point as Cindy’s running out, she remarks, “I knew I didn’t do it right,” as she unties a complicated sash. Needless to say, despite the snafu she looks very much a goddess.

+ WATCH BACKSTAGE AT GIORGIO DI SANT' ANGELO


DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: FRANCO MOSCHINO HATES THE GAME

franco moschino

Designer Franco Moschino in 1990.
Photo: MTV

I love Moschino so much. Not only because I love the logo for its gloriously ’80s-’90s feel, but because Franco Moschino is a maniac. He's also brilliant in a way that makes me desperately wish he was still alive so we could see the entire arc of his vision over many decades. In this clip, we’ve settled on an angle and a black-and-white tile that make the interview look like it was shot in a bordello rave. Franco says things like “The challenge of being a fashion designer today doesn’t have any meaning. They call me this because it’s the only adjective they can put on my shoulders, but I’m not.” Also, “I should be ashamed of being a fashion designer today because the wrongest thing to do is to design new clothes.”

He argues that the cyclical aspect of fashion is formulaic, tedious and ridiculous. “I am very boring, as you see. I am using the same clothing, same styles, same music, the same models… The only thing that makes everything new and actualizes everything is how you put them together.” It’s this stank attitude, and his humorous, surrealist touches that make his clothes so unmistakably Moschino. Though he died in 1994 of a heart attack, that DNA has been faithfully preserved by the House of Moschino. In this FW 1990 collection, you'll see the boxy suits that were ubiquitous at the time, but his drip with gold sequins and feature bras in place of blouses. Moschino's "black suit with contrasting border" is rendered in leather with giant silver paillettes for a '70s disco first lady effect. There are miles of chains draped on every model’s hips; there’s even a classic black trousers/white blouse look that’s been remixed with a string bikini top made of pearls. Massive embroidered and embellished shoulders make suit jackets resemble armor, except that the sleeves are tiny and dainty in length. Moschino's sense of proportion is outrageous and if you're into that sort of thing, it's exciting to behold.

There are commedia dell’arte caricatures in ruffs and gold lamé onesies battling each other. Style tropes are brazenly cross-pollinated like a sailor suit exaggerated to cartoonish, infantilizing levels, coupled with blue trousers that feature white, fluffy cloud patch pockets and a cloud belt. Moschino even played with the cow motif, declaring that he was envious of them because they’re always so relaxed. The print was intended to symbolize fashion people, skewering them for the complacently bovine manner with which they pursued trends. “I’m telling them that they are stupid if they buy too many clothes," says Moschino. "And you know what is the reaction? They buy more.”

The hostility is a riot. Especially when you imagine its reception in the buttoned-up fashion landscape of Europe in 1990.

+ WATCH FRANCO MOSCHINO


STREET STYLE: HARAJUKU

tokyo fashion

Street style in the Harajuku section of Tokyo in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Unfortunately, we don’t have video for this segment, because of a medley of unrecognizable music that we couldn’t clear but I wanted to grab as many stills as possible as House of Style visits the Harajuku shopping district years before Gwen Stefani would popularize it. There are a slew of club collars, summer braids and nods to private school uniforms, and we’re introduced to Hitomi Okawa, the designer behind the Toyko brands Milk, Milk Boy and Obscure Desire of the Bourgeoisie. Okawa is dressed like some color-blocked jockey. Her stores are incredible. To give you a bit of back story, Milk opened in 1970 and was the first store to carry Comme des Garçons.

For more information on what kind of stuff Milk sold in 1990, look no further than a sleeveless, polo midi-dress with snap buttons fabricated IN RUBBER that I would kill for as a shrunken varsity jacket (can you imagine?). We then get a sampling of wares from other Japanese designers like A Rose is Rose’s Kiyoko Kiga: high-waisted denim RUFFLE shorts with quarter-sized grommets; fascinating textures in monochrome dressing; safari jackets; gonzo rattan hats; and floral, printed thigh-high stockings that tweens, teens, and grown-ass adults would kill for this year. Kiga may not be a recognizable name, but fans of America’s Next Top Model may recall that he was a guest judge on Season 3.

We then interview Hiromichi Nakano, who still designs the line Hiromichi by Hiromichi Nakano. His SS 2012 featured oversized silhouettes in garments either in black, white, black-and-white or steeped in shocking color. Looking at Nakano’s 1990 runway is bonkers because it features a silver cone bra that is very Jean Paul Gaultier circa Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour, and I cannot for the life of me untangle who predates whom. Nakano is also responsible for white, pleated, illusion baby doll dresses and girly printed, pleated, sister/wife dresses with a high-low hem that would look at home in Opening Ceremony and on the back of Chloë Sevigny right this second.

“If I had to describe it in a few words, it’s like trying to destroy the Japanese conservativeness that’s been around for so long,” says Nakano of his design philosophy. “I really like the fashion of the U.S. For example, the main fashion recently that I like is what Spike Lee was wearing in Do The Right Thing." Basically, bright shorts over black bike shorts, and throwback Dodgers jerseys. Timeless.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 4

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I love these two as a couple. What a festive way to celebrate two important events in their life. Mariah looks like a dream.

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