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walk like a runway model

A participant walks like a runway model at a New Jersey mall in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 41
Title: Best Of Edition (How-To Tutorials)
Original Airdate: 6/6/95
Includes segments from:

  • How To Walk Like A Runway Model (Episode 13)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • How To Accessorize For $1.98 (Episode 25)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • How To Relax With Aromatherapy (Episode 37)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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elizabeth berkley

Inside 'Showgirls' star Elizabeth Berkley's closet in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 42
Title: Back To School Edition
Original Airdate: 9/11/95
Appearances: Elizabeth Berkley, Stephanie Seymour, Veronica Webb, Victoria Bartlett, Stephen Sprouse

DEMOCRATIZATION OF STYLE: A CLOSET TOUR WITH ELIZABETH BERKLEY

If you grew up watching Saved by the Bell and knew Elizabeth Berkley as Jessie Spano, you were probably deeply curious to see how she’d fare as the lead in the Paul Verhoeven movie Showgirls. The film is a campy celebration of Vegas debauchery, schlocky acting, eating dog food, and full frontal nudity, with a lot of explicit sex.

We catch up with Elizabeth Berkley a few weeks before the release of the NC-17 cult classic, and you can tell she’s eager for the image change. She’s ready to shed the do-gooding, overachieving high-school version of herself, and is very much dressing the part. She shows off the difference between the flannel shirts, jeans and boots (or her “Midwest look” as she calls it) that she keeps in her closet for her visits home, and seems proud of her vinyl trouser collection. She’s partial to shiny clothing in general, as we see when she models a shocking red color vinyl trench.

Elizabeth talks about how much she loves Betsey Johnson floral dresses, and then plays dress-up in a shrunken sweater and pencil skirt, and later in a long red satin “chinois” dress with a slit to the thigh. She considers the first an homage to Old Hollywood glamour, and then muses that the red dress is a good option for a date. She’s in man-eater mode as she discusses stripper heels, and while this is all an exhibition to highlight how she’s changed, the earnestness is endearing. As a viewer you have mixed feelings and feel slightly protective of how she seems unaware that she’s just starred in a hilarious and highly entertaining porno.

+ WATCH ELIZABETH BERKLEY'S CLOSET


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: THE FIRST VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW

victoria's secret fashion show

The first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Long before Adam Levine performances, million-dollar bras and winged angels who commanded hefty checks to walk in a show televised to millions of viewers on network television, there was the very first Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The goal was simple: to bring the popular lingerie and clothing catalog to life.

It looks like a tasteful trunk show in some regards. Held at New York’s Plaza Hotel, the models are elegant and recognizable: We speak with catalog mainstays Frederique, Stephanie Seymour and Veronica Webb about the goings-on. They’re dutifully respectful and appreciative of the efforts taken to produce the show. We speak to a Victoria’s Secret executive briefly as well, and while the company has been enormously successful in building the entertainment value of show in subsequent years, the most interesting thing about this dialed-down, straightforward production is the styling.

Victoria Bartlett, the stylist, is a genius, and it’s no wonder she went on to be the fashion editor of Allure, the fashion director of Interview and a designer in her own right with the creation of VPL (and the diffusion line VPL2 that counts Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani and Tilda Swinton among its fans). It’s no small feat to create a mood or an entire lifestyle around lingerie, and Bartlett pairs matching bra and panty sets with robes and cardigans and even re-imagines slips and half-slips as dresses and skirts by pairing them with shoes, handbags, cuffs and gloves.

The trend is one we’ve seen before, but taking “underwear as outerwear” and making it work for a somewhat conservative client is a shrewdly navigated balancing act. None of the slips betray a sluttiness that a grunge take on the trend would’ve evoked. This is carefully executed fashion for the mainstream, and the key here is skewing ladylike and respectable by keeping things slightly costumey (no one is wearing a baby tee with bikini panties, a handbag and driving gloves to work) with an sustained seriousness.

+ WATCH BACKSTAGE AT THE FIRST VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION SHOW


STEPHEN SPROUSE STYLES THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME MUSEUM

stephen sprouse

Designer Stephen Sprouse visits the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Stephen Sprouse once again bridges the gap between fashion and music by taking on the very specific job of styling the mannequins that will stand in the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Interestingly enough, you don’t have to be inducted to appear in the museum, and Sprouse uses this to pick and choose his favorites for the contemporary music section. It’s marvelous to have a fashion and music nerd with a clear sense of taste to curate the museum, and he’s obviously thrilled at the prospect of dispatching a team of museum-caliber preservationists to protect random stains on the destroyed rock tees. That man-hours will be devoted to maintaining the integrity of snot, blood and beer stains is kinda thrilling.

Mannequins created to exactly resemble riot girl members of L7 have their roots dyed dark on artificial hair to mimic their style precisely. Plastic baby barrettes from the dollar store are flown in and then meticulously clipped according to drawings sent by the musicians, and we even have anatomically correct mannequins (they have penises instead of a Ken doll bump) to fill skintight pants.

There are outfits from Elton John, The Fat Boys, Sid Vicious (Stephen is quick to point out the Sex label on his original Vivienne Westwood bondage pants) and Debbie Harry. The Debbie Harry dress is the first thing he’d ever made for her, and he reminisces that he’d cut the dress so short that it had to be weighted down with safety pins. There are shell-toes from Run-DMC and a tab of acid from Janis Joplin; Sprouse idles on the mannequin of Trent Reznor, who will be covered in real mud in upcoming weeks to evoke his mud-slung performance at Woodstock. It’s thrilling to get to see what it takes to be a curator (a term that in this case is used correctly) for such an anthropologically exacting exhibit, and Sprouse looks like a kid in a candy store.

+ WATCH STEPHEN SPROUSE ROCK N' ROLL HALL OF FAME


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 42

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kurt loder

MTV News anchor Kurt Loder gets a 'House of Style' makeover from designer John Bartlett in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 43
Title: Fall Edition
Original Airdate: 10/16/95
Appearances: Kurt Loder, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, John Bartlett, Kate Moss, Chris Farley, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Scott Wolf, Oprah Winfrey, Naughty by Nature

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: KURT LODER'S MAKEOVER

Giving MTV’s baritone news authority, Kurt Loder, a makeover sounds innocent and straightforward enough, but this piece rules ups the ante because the designers show up to do the styling themselves. House of Style has gotten popular enough on its own merit that we no longer go onto the field to visit with designers in their natural habitats in order to create a documentary-feel to the story. We rarely see Loder in this light, so that’s fun, but the takeaway is that designers—Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, and John Bartlett—are asked to present their collections and their personalities. Not only are they being judged on the merits of their clothes, but their eponymous brands need to convey character as well. It introduces a competitive aspect that makes this a significant precursor to industry-specific reality TV. This is Project Runway being born, not to mention the fashion-acting double threat (Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, Lauren Conrad, Whitney Port). Kurt Loder dressed in Betsey Johnson faux fur coats is entertaining for sure, and who doesn’t love the maxi-madras print of a John Bartlett suit? But this “treating Kurt Loder like a paper doll” gag means more to future trends in broadcast and transparency. Plus, Kurt Loder’s hair has never looked more amazing.

+ WATCH KURT LODER'S MAKEOVER


RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: KATE MOSS ON HER BOOK, 'KATE'

kate moss

Model Kate Moss launches her book, 'Kate' in 1995.
Photo: MTV

It’s a huge deal that the locus of power shifted to allow an art book to be based on the popularity of the model and not the brand name of a photographer. Publishers are approaching models at the time this episode was produced, and Kate Moss’s book spans the past five years of her burgeoning career. In this segment, we show Kate walking around a room filled with her photographs, and some of her more notorious tabloid clippings. The wall display, which may have been arranged for a launch party, is interesting because it allows Kate Moss the model to talk about Kate the image with a greater sense of distance.

That fracturing of self is interesting. It’s akin to Helmut talking about his himself in the third person or when Beyoncé performs as Sasha Fierce. It’s subtle, but instead of asking models what their life philosophies are or how long things take at shows, we get an insight into the 19-year-old mind of a very young and very famous model through her own testimony about how she regards her face. She’s incredibly insightful and unguarded. Kate notes that photographers often don’t like to show her smiling, and that she loves seeing how her image changes according to the shot because she likes when she can’t recognize herself. “It’s not really me,” she says of the pages in her book. “They’re just images that the photographers portray me as.”

Kate seems well-adjusted despite her infamy and the heightened scrutiny from British papers (their press then being the equivalent to our tabloids and TMZ now), and doesn’t seem to feel any real ownership of the version of herself being portrayed by Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh and Nick Knight. “They don’t see who you are,” she says. “The more visible they make you, the more invisible the true you is.”

+ WATCH KATE MOSS' BOOK


FAMOUS PEOPLE GET IMPATIENT WITH FLEA MARKET QUESTIONS

jean claude van damme

Actor Jean Claude Van Damme and Darcy LaPier share their favorite flea market find in 1995.
Photo: MTV

This is awesome because it’s a classic case of hitting a press line for an event with a question that famous people are not remotely interested in answering. We’ve included the clip here mostly so you can see a young Scott Wolf, as well as Bruce Willis and Demi Moore as a couple. The question is: What’s the last thing you got at a flea market? It serves as an interesting litmus test for how much patience people have and what they think of MTV. Chris Farley asks us “what we’re on.” Jean Claude Van Damme tells us it’s a stupid question. Alice Cooper, Little Richard and Oprah, on the other hand, are extremely patient and professional.

+ WATCH CELEBRITY FLEA MARKET FINDS


MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING IN JERSEY WITH NAUGHTY BY NATURE

naughty by nature

Shopping with Treach of Naughty by Nature in Newark, New Jersey in 1995.
Photo: MTV

We hit up Newark with East Orange’s finest, Treach and Vin Rock of Naughty By Nature. We visit their store, which sells their in-house line, Naughty Gear. This is most like the Luscious Jackson shopping segment in that we get to check out stores the rappers would normally spend time in. They give us advice on how to layer oversized clothing, and it’s all very sincere and servicey, but the best part has to be when Vin and Treach call out local designers — including April Walker of Walker Wear, and Brother Mac One, who has an airbrushed T-shirt atelier.

Most of America may only know the group as a one- or two-hit wonder, but these guys made a huge impact within the rap community (seriously, see how often Treach’s name comes up as rappers’ top rappers), so for Treach and Vinnie to extol the virtues of returning to your neighborhood to promote local business is a huge deal. “When it came time for us to put up a business,” says Vin, “we wanted to start in here, back in the hood. Hopefully, it can encourage other people around the way to put their business here.”

It’s an earnest, credible gesture, so it’s no surprise that they would want to show off their neighborhood to MTV viewers. We go to a shoe store, where the two buy boots, and then we even go to their local hardware store to get a real-life length of industrial chain and a padlock. These guys weren’t about wearing diamond flooded necklaces; they wore chains and brought House of Style along with them to Jersey Janitorial Supplies to prove it. The chains and the padlock pendant signify that their thoughts are with those doing time in jail.

+ WATCH NAUGHTY BY NATURE GOES SHOPPING


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 43

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las vegas showgirls

Makeup tips from Las Vegas showgirls in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 44
Title: Las Vegas Edition
Original Airdate: 11/27/95
Appearances: Las Vegas showgirls

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: MAKEUP TIPS FROM SHOWGIRLS

With regard to beauty, there are two schools of thought amongst Vegas showgirls: eyebrows or no eyebrows. In this segment, we visit Las Vegas and go backstage to reveal makeup secrets of showgirls. None of them is applicable to real life (back in 1995 or now) unless you’re giving showgirl realness as a very well-blended drag queen, but it’s fascinating to see the tricks and shortcuts applied to a faceful of powders, creams and colors. Some girls swear by removing their brows because they like to vary the shape and color according to the mood required in the show. An arch denotes anger or tempestuousness, while a rounder curve indicates that the character is more subdued. Some even use a red lip pencil as liner on their lids and lips in order to match.

Whether your brows are drawn in or not, makeup time can run anywhere form 20 minutes to over an hour, and the advice varies from not having your eyeliner extend past your brow to having a “mobile mole”: a traveling beauty spot that disguises blemishes. It’s captivating to watch makeup routines that are enacted in the cloistered environment of a Las Vegas show, since they’re totally unrelated to the trends of the time. You may find the painstaking results appealing or garish, but you can’t knock the effort.

+ WATCH SHOWGIRL MAKEUP TIPS


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: LAS VEGAS SPECIALTY BOUTIQUES

At first you'd think this would be a segment that would be more at home on a travel show, especially given the butch, gravelly voiceover but the bit I love is that we visit with Ms. Rita Hart at Quality Liquidators where they sell furniture from closed down hotels and casinos (and please also check out Rita's windbreaker ensemble because it's amazing), Stephen C. Serge, the proprietor of Serge's Showgirl Wigs and Mordechai Yerushalmi a.k.a. Jeweler to the Stars. It's exactly the sort of anthropologically marvelous stuff I'd want to hit up if I visited a touristy spot. Plus, we've got a clip of Marty Scorsese talking watches.

+ WATCH LAS VEGAS HISTORY


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: TODD GOES TCHOTCHKE SHOPPING

Trust Todd Oldham to hit up Las Vegas in doubled up animal print (python satin shirt and leopard print pants) to shop at the "largest emporium of crap." We look at numerous wedding-themed bauble, every manner of Elvis gee-gaw and a slew of naked lady pens.

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM SHOP IN LAS VEGAS


DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: THE SPRING '96 RUNWAYS

The middle of the decade showed strong color, pattern, and texture for spring. Neons, lurid burn out patterned velvet, lace, sequins, ostrich feathers, plaids, stripes, and a ton of zebra print. Silhouettes were either mega diaphanous like slinky satin and clingy chiffon or else super structured with denim and khaki showing up in everything from suiting to onesies. Baby tees and halters continued to rage (they'd be big all through the '90s) and navel gazed all the exposed midriffs from Anna Sui to Gaultier and even Chanel. Knee-shorts were hot but hot pants were hotter, but the takeaway might be that white-girl cornrows and dreads were a thing and that's just real :(

+ WATCH SPRING '96 FASHION WEEK SHOWS


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 44

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford at the 'House of Style' goodbye party in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 45
Title: Cindy's Last Show
Original Airdate: 12/18/95
Appearances: Anna Sui, Todd Oldham, Kurt Loder, Kevyn Aucoin

RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: CINDY LEAVES 'HOUSE OF STYLE'

For most of us, Cindy Crawford was the most memorable House of Style host, so it’s with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to the supermodel as she turns 30. I only bring up her age because she does, and in this segment from Cindy’s going-away party, she jokes that it’s not that she’s too good for videotape (she was pursuing a film career at the time), but that she’s too old for it. True to Cindy’s low-key style, she tries on a number of dresses that were called in for the occasion, but ends up wearing her own clothes. Her cropped shirt and pants are Gucci and her glam squad chat as she gets ready.

Cindy arrives alone, cracking jokes the whole time, and checks in with designer and HOS regular Anna Sui. Losing a longtime host can be a tumultuous change for a show, and the two talk about the impact House of Style has had on the fashion community. “Well, I think it’s brought fashion into the home,” says Sui. “I think it’s given us the recognition that we probably never would have gained without being on. And I think it’s given us a whole new audience.”

Another show favorite, makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, talks about his favorite moment: the time Todd Oldham interviewed him. He mentions how pleased he was that he’d kissed Todd on the cheek and that the moment hadn’t been edited out. Cindy then checks with her MTV family—Kurt Loder, Doug Herzog (head of programming at the time), and Frankie the cameraman. Cindy cites her own favorite moments: clowning around with Tracey Ullman, getting teased by Will Smith, Naomi Campbell applying zit cream to her face, and going shopping with Duran Duran at Sears.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD'S HIGHLIGHTS AS A HOST ON 'HOUSE OF STYLE: MUSIC, MODELS, AND MTV'


It is the end of the era, in that Cindy Crawford’s ascension to stardom coincided with the first couple of years of House of Style. The big-haired, bodacious, buxom goddess is no longer the desirable aesthetic ideal of the late ’80s and the early ’90s. Shoulder pads have been traded for flannel shirts, the supermodel has been usurped by the waif, musicians and skaters are making fashion and power has shifted from the European runways to the street. It’s sad to see Cindy go, but it’s exciting to see what's next.

+ WATCH CINDY'S FAVORITE 'HOUSE OF STYLE' MOMENTS


DEMYSTIFYING STYLE: CINDY CRAWFORD'S BLOOPER REEL

cindy crawford

An outtake from Cindy's tenure as host of 'House of Style.'
Photo: MTV

Being a host can have a slew of hilarious moments. Watch Cindy’s evolution as a television host in a series of outtakes, from spaz-outs to laughing fits to getting bundled up in massive blankets between takes. Note that, by the end, Cindy 86es some of the more “cheesy” stuff.

+ WATCH CINDY'S BLOOPER REEL


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 45

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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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shalom harlow amber valletta

New hosts Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in Episode 47 of 'House of Style' in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 47
Title: March Edition
Original Airdate: 3/11/96
Appearances: Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto)

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: OUR NEW HOSTS, SHALOM AND AMBER

There was a time in fashion when Shalom and Amber were a model crew unto themselves. They didn’t just pal around, they appeared on magazine covers together and even tag-teamed hosting duties for our show. And, of course, true to House of Style form, we figured the quickest way to get to know them was to rummage through their closets.They show us thrifted suits, Pucci skirts, Vivienne Westwood summer dresses and fur slippers, and introduce the uninitiated among us to the concept of deconstructed hems.

The best part is watching Amber and Shalom interact with each other. They’re huge nerds. Amber is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has an easygoing, gangly way about her. She has bleach stains all over her favorite rock radio promo tee from home. Shalom reminds us with every vowel-heavy word that she’s SO Canadian. The way she pronounces “outfit” is incredibly endearing, and she repeats it enough that it could inspire a drinking game. It reminds us of how formal and nervous Cindy was before she became poised and comfortable, and the sign-off where Amber and Shalom say the salutation in tandem is exactly the corny thing Cindy would’ve objected to by the end of her tenure. It’s exciting to have these gorgeous yet oddly relatable girls at the helm.

+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA AND SHALOM HARLOW


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

things that are cool

Things That Are Cool in 1996: Street Style Edition.
Photo: MTV

In an effort to be more approachable, instead of showing the best and worst of the runway, House of Style at this stage is starting to do broader market work to include “lifestyle” pieces like art and books. In 1996, we put our stamp of approval on white eyeliner, platform flip flops by Converse, the Taschen Cristo & Jeanne-Claude coffee table book, a photo print dress from Agnès B., hair color by Oribé, a hideous condom wall vase (an unfurled condom, affixed to a wall, that you could put a single bud in), and last but certainly not least guitar straps from Built By Wendy designer Wendy Mullin. These guitar straps were so popular among musicians like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani while Wendy was going to FIT that they ended up spawning a clothing line. While the brick-and-mortar stores have been shuttered over last year and this year in favor of a web store, I remember how crucial it was at the time to have a jewel tone or navy pin-wale corduroy blazer of hers, because it looked great with everything and had lightly puffed and gathered sleeves that were flattering.

Things that suck are somewhat arbitrary. We rail against jelly shoes (remember the jellies with the chunk heels that Guess came out with and everyone ripped off? Everyone’s feet stank all summer), wearing vintage head-to-toe and something called “body glue.” You’ll notice that not a single trend comes from an established fashion house, and that everything is affordable to college kids.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK


MUSIC AND FASHION: EATING OUT WITH CIBO MATTO

cibo matto

Dining out with Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Cibo Matto was a big deal to me because before Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori showed up, the most ubiquitous Asian face in the fashion scene was either Anna Sui or Jenny Shimizu. It was nice to have some musicians in the mix, especially since female indie rockers at the time were so wonderfully kickass and these guys were so musically diverse. Cibo Matto was well ahead of the foodie trend, and their band (the name of which means “crazy food” in Italian) played zany songs on the subject of comestibles, with highly stylized, dreamy, surreal videos to match. Plus, there was rapping. It was refreshing to see them hanging out with Sean Lennon and the rest of the downtown cool kids, especially since they weren’t stereotypically glamorous as Asian pop stars were required to be in their respective countries at the time. Plus, it was awesome that they were both a little ESL, but could still be on MTV eating blueberry knishes at Yonah Schimmel.

For our eating tour, we visit Panna II, a.k.a. that Indian spot in the East Village with Christmas lights strung all over it; Kwanzaa for some West Indian stewed oxtail; the aforementioned knishes (which, according to Miho, taste “nostalgic”); and cheese fondue and elaborate desserts at Aureole. Yuka talks about how the girls’ relationship with food isn’t just a schtick, and that food composition and how a meal is wrapped up is a lot like the components of music. The group would eventually grow to five members (including Mr. Lennon), but would disband in 2001 only to reunite a decade later for a new album.

+ WATCH CIBO MATTO FOOD TOUR


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 47

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jean paul gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier runway at Paris Fashion Week in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 48
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 4/15/96
Appearances: Ann Demeulemeester, Emma Balfour, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jerry Hall, Julien D'Ys, Jean Touitou

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: PARIS FASHION WEEK

A couple of things make this segment extra-special for me: the fact that we have a rare interview with the incomparable Belgian genius Ann Demeulemeester, and that hearing model Emma Balfour speak so eloquently about her sent me into a weird fact-finding mission that led to the discovery that Emma became a poet! It’s not every day you hear from a model who has been compared to Raymond Carver. Seriously.

The F/W 1996 Ann D collection is pretty special. She’s such a master and cuts a mean, lean silhouette with this fantastically somber Antwerpian gravitas, yet there are off-kilter details like asymmetrical sleeves or meandering plackets that deliver tension in this wonderful contrapposto — it's the sort of bound agony you see in Greek sculpture from the Hellenistic period. It's great. This is what Demeulemeester says about the process: “When I start the collections, most of the time I start with a certain movement. So the movement of this collection is that I tried to work on a twisted body.” What? Can you just think about that? It's so insane to think that her point of inspiration is how fabric behaves on a screwy form. It shouldn’t be surprising, since she can command textile to do whatever she wants, but honestly, could she make the terrain any more challenging?

There’s a ton of excellent stuff in this season as a whole. HoS fave Jean Paul Gaultier is going through a sculptural period and is heavily into moving cubes and spheres. There’s this great moment with Jerry Hall, who remarks that she’s modeling as a madwoman who doesn’t realize she’s mad and sounds totally unhinged as she's describing it. From Rifat Ozbek to Romeo Gigli, there are mixed prints, velvet, skinny maxi skirts, sweaters, bright evening suiting, tartan ball gowns and fur stoles; on the beauty side, this is the season of the top-knot, fashion Mohawk, glittery face makeup that appears to have been cried into smears, and dark bars painted over eyes in place of liner.

+ WATCH MODELS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: HAIR TIPS FROM STYLIST JULIEN D'YS

julien d'ys

Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta visit hairstylist Juline D'Ys in Paris in 1996.
Photo: MTV

OK, I had never heard of Julien D’Ys so I didn’t have an appreciation for how wonderful this segment is and just thought it was cool that he invited Shalom and Amber over for some hair tips. Apparently, at the time of this taping, Julien is “one of the most revered hair masters working today.” Julien is the guy who, since 2005, has been doing all the head-dressing at the Costume Institute Exhibition at the Met; he’s also been collaborating with Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons for over two decades, and you know how particular (and brilliant) Rei is. Most recently, you may have seen Julien’s flawless pin curls on Katy Perry’s Old Hollywood transformation for the June 2011 issue of Vanity Fair, but more importantly, Julien is also a photographer, set designer and a painter.

Last year, Julien had his first painting exhibition, and it’s so rad that we get to see all of his canvases from 1996 in his apartment while he teaches Amber how to use tinfoil and molding clay to curl her hair. He then puts wigs on Shalom and shows us how a cut-up piece of panty hose can act like SPANX for her real hair so that everything lies flat under the hair piece. All very cool and 100% applicable to life, but I just really liked the bit where he talked about his paintings because it’s so clear how passionately he feels about being a fine artist. Plus, the part where his blowdryer (and probably all of our camera lights) blows a fuse in his crappy New York apartment is super-relatable as well. That’s the magic of House of Style: You could go from knowing nothing to wanting to hang out with a person based on footage that was shot 16 years ago.

+ WATCH JULIEN D'YS' STUDIO


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A.P.C.'S JEAN TOUITOU'S FASHION PHILOSOPHY

jean touitou

A.P.C. designer Jean Touitou in 1996.
Photo: MTV

On the topic of people I want to hang out with, A.P.C designer Jean Touitou is definitely one of them. Even if he sort of terrifies me. This reminds me so much of the Franco Moschino interview in that he’s so clever, quick and controversial that you can never tell if he’s mocking or goading you (“Cynicism is a humor that suits me” he’s said in a T magazine profile). It’s been eons since the artisanal jeans movement stormed the gate (denimgate?), so I’ll go ahead and presume you all know the brand A.P.C. (atelier de production et de creation). It started in Paris in 1986, it’s a line that makes jeans that you have to work very hard to break in, and "A.P.C." is the universally agreed-upon, male, fashblogger-approved response to, "What jeans are you wearing?"

All of this, obviously, is by design. Touitou has pursued music from the beginning as well and is just as unorthodox in that arena in terms of how he likes to do business. He releases his own music and creates compilations with like-minded friends. According to T, he even built a recording studio at A.P.C. HQ, a haven for employees who want to record with their bands, and where parts of the score for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox were recorded. I’m going to do that annoying thing where I just pull out some responses and cut-and-paste them, not (only) because I’m lazy, but because his quotes are great unmolested.

On A.P.C.’s iterative processes:
“Here we make the fabric, we design, manufacture, we mail order. It’s invisible work and it takes a long time to do.”

On fashion shows:
“The fashion show for me is purely a spectacular nonsense. It’s all related to how much hype you get at that period of time. Everybody’s going to think you’re fabulous or not and it’s not based on your work and your clothes.”

On releasing music:
“I decided to produce music when I had the means to do so. We decided to do a first album and to be totally independent. I’m sorry, but I do not want to talk to the music industry.”

On logos:
“Everybody wants to be a star very quickly, and so anybody will do a label and have his name on it. So I didn’t want no name at all at the beginning….The first collection was just the label with the name, with the date actually. The first one was called ‘Winter ’87.’”

On tawdry clothes:
“I don’t like the clothes too loudly sexy because sex, when it’s too loud, is not sex anymore. It’s an image of sex, and you don’t want the image to want sex.”

For more on Jean Touitou, follow his Twitter feed. Or watch this video. Also, read this.

+ WATCH A.P.C.


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 48

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jewel

Singer Jewel gets dressed up for prom at Bulgari in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 49
Title: Prom Edition
Original Airdate: 5/20/96
Appearances: Jewel, Selma Blair

MUSIC AND FASHION: JEWEL GETS A PROM UPGRADE

Remember Jewel’s origin story? Before her debut album, Pieces of You, went FIFTEEN TIMES PLATINUM, she grew up in Alaska, was super-poor, had an outhouse, and had to busk for money. Well, she also didn't get to go to prom and it’s why this Pygmalion transformation is compelling. Jewel goes to Manolo, a boutique named Anna, and diamond mecca — Bulgari (or BVLGARI if you’re going by logo) — and even though you know that the jewelry has to be returned (because you’ve seen Pretty Woman), you can’t help but wonder if she got to keep the other stuff. (Is this the televised precursor to the gifting suite?) It’s great to see Jewel’s taste across the board. I hope she made off with the three pairs of shoes because putting that necklace back had to hurt.

+ WATCH JEWEL GOES PROM SHOPPING

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: SELMA BLAIR’S PROM PSA

selma blair

Actors Anson Scoville and Selma Blair get ready for the prom in 1996.
Photo: MTV

In this faux ’50s instructional video purporting to demystify prom, the things you notice straightaway is that actress Selma Blair is in it, and that she’s a tiny, baby child. The delivery is a little hokey, but the service elements are actually fantastic. I can totally imagine being a girl and hoping my date would watch it in advance, because the advice is sound: Dudes should absolutely wear a tux; you should practice dancing and walking in heels; you should opt for a wrist corsage instead of a pin; and you need to make the call on whether or not to kiss your date based on how receptive he is to handholding and whether he laughed at your jokes. All solid.

It’s funny because part of me thinks this is all hideously outdated and that kids nowadays are no longer this innocent because of sexting and being on Facebook from the second they’re born, but for each 11-year-old girl in my Brooklyn neighborhood that dresses like a 27-year-old woman, there must be a young lady who never wears heels. And guys who may be able to download as much free porn as they want may not know a single thing about how to tell whether or not a girl likes them. I choose to think this corny piece endures because I am a million years old and this sort of good, clean fun makes me smile.

+ WATCH SELMA BLAIR PROM TIPS

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

comme des garcons

Things That Suck For Prom in 1996.
Photo: MTV

The marketwork on this is also prom-themed, and while things like “Comme des Garçons” sneaker loafers merit a bit of side eye (what kid can afford them or cares enough to buy them?), I do love that there’s the equally unattainable but awesome inclusion of a Motorola Startec mini phone. Retro technology’s cool because it sucks.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: 'SEVENTEEN' MAGAZINE'S PROM SHOOT

For the latest prom trends, we go on location in San Diego with Seventeen magazine to check out cowl neck dresses, full-length pouf skirts and bias-cut silhouettes in fabrics from chiffon to satin to velvet. There are a couple of tux alternatives shown in festive textures and accessories cover the right necklace for your neckline and the power of a single cocktail ring.

+ WATCH 'SEVENTEEN' MAGAZINE'S PROM SHOOT

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 49

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cindy crawford dennis rodman

Dennis Rodman models swimsuits with Cindy Crawford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 50
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 6/17/96
Appearances: Pat Smear, Cindy Crawford, Dennis Rodman

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: CINDY INTERVIEWS DENNIS RODMAN

Call me crazy, but by the end of this segment I couldn’t help but wondering if Cindy requested to return to the show expressly for this piece. She looooooooves Dennis Rodman. I'm not into sports but this guy was a pop culture icon in the mid-'90s. He dated Madonna, wrote a book called Bad As I Wanna Be, wore a wedding dress during the press junket for his biography, and appeared onstage with Pearl Jam because that was his favorite band. Here, Dennis and Cindy try on bathing suits in the unfinished Seattle Planet Hollywood in a makeshift studio.

Cindy wears a very shiny shirt, Dennis wears a gigantic faux fur and brocade cap, and she can't stop admiring his physique while cracking “The Worm” jokes. Ever the exhibitionist, Dennis climbs into a tiny banana hammock and Cindy just about passes out.

Dennis is significant because basketball players aren't the most stylish dudes. I wasn't a fan of everything he did but he always took huge fashion risks with his ever-changing hair color, tattoos, and piercings. Plus, he always supported AIDS awareness and once declared that he would marry himself because he was bisexual. Some of the schtick was obviously publicity stunt-ish but you can appreciate his intentions, like how on this segment he has AIDS ribbons spray-painted onto his hair. At any rate, I’ll take Dennis Rodman in a Gaultier bathing suit over Michael Jordan’s distressed dad jeans any day. And don't even get me started on those awful, oversized, over-loud Steve Harvey suits that rookies wear when they're drafted.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AND DENNIS RODMAN

MUSIC AND FASHION: PAT SMEAR MODELS

pat smear

Pat Smear goes on a photo shoot with Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in New York in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Shalom and Amber hit the East Village for a photo shoot with Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear. Shalom shoots, Amber styles and the three gallivant around New York on a hot summer day with a van filled with clothes. Italian ices are eaten, nails are painted and Pat poses in spring’s hottest togs, from mini-skirts to blue suits. The trio linger in barbershop doorways and on benches in Tompkins Square Park, with Shalom snapping all the while. At one point, she even takes issue with the House of Style camera crew for getting in her shot. It’s hardly a professional shoot: Amber jumps in to lotion dry legs, there are still price tags hanging out, and the end results are slightly blurred. Pat’s a great sport, going so far as to wear a gender-bending look Amber put together for him onstage.

+ WATCH PAT SMEAR PHOTO SHOOT

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

cool things

Things That Are Cool for Summer in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Everything in this segment looks like it was plucked from a rave flyer. There are curved metallic bags, tiny braided hair buns, brightly-colored sunglasses and a portable vanity (from AlwaysGroovy.com, no less) and it reminds us that you couldn’t walk into a Spencer’s Gifts without 90% of the stuff being about space or aliens. It’s insane how trendy the extraterrestrial motif was in 1996: Most of the things deemed cool fall into this category. The outlier is a quick message to support the independent record store, with a shout-out to Tim Jackson and Carolyn Schmitt’s Adult Crash, which used to sit on 66 avenue A, with a clientele that included such bold names as Courtney Love, Thurston Moore and Jon Spencer. Wendy Mullins from Built by Wendy also worked there. They specialized in Japanese imports and 7 inches, but apparently the call to arms didn’t suffice, because they’ve since sadly shuttered. Things that suck include blue nail polish (which seems more an issue of personal taste) and the high-heeled thong sandal because: barf.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 50

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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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