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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

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: JEAN PAUL GAULTIER IS AN ICON

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.

+ WATCH JEAN PAUL GAULTIER


RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: LINDA EVANGELISTA

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.

+ WATCH LINDA EVANGELISTA


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: PARIS FASHION WEEK

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.”

+ WATCH BACKSTAGE AT PARIS FASHION WEEK


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: ELLEN VON UNWERTH'S 'ITALIAN VOGUE' SHOOT

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.

+ WATCH ELLEN VON UNWERTH


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 12

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford and 'Harper's Bazaar' Fashion Editor Evyan Metzner at Paris Fashion Week in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 27
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 11/24/93
Appearances: Helena Christensen, Richard Gere, Christian LaCroix, Amber Valletta, John Galliano, Max Vadukul

DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY BECOMES AN EDITOR

If you ever wanted to see Cindy in a pantsuit, this would be the time. In this segment, Cindy attends Paris Fashion Week with Evyan Metzner, fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. For the first show, Cindy shadows Evyan — who, during a typical fashion week, will attend 8-10 shows a day. Her schedule is an intricate grid that begins at 8:30 AM and often doesn’t end until 11 at night. Having previously learned what a typical fashion show at Paris costs and what it’s like backstage, this time we learn about the specific responsibilities of a fashion editor.

First of all, we learn all about the front row, and the unwritten politics of who gets to sit where. Remember, this too is way before the advent of the internet where the placement politics weren't common knowledge. We learn that well-connected editors, and buyers with large, important accounts, get to sit in front, along with celebrities and the models’ rock star husbands. Then, there’s the issue of a sketchbook. Long before the Instagram feeding frenzy and live-tweeted descriptions from every single attendee, you had to draw quick outlines so that you could remember trends as they developed over the week. A great example here is a shirt cropped so short that it reveals lower-boob cleavage (or “neathage,” as some of us call it). Cindy and Evyan go backstage to congratulate Christian Lacroix and conduct a quick interview.

For her second stint as fashion editor, Cindy goes solo, and we’re invited into her Parisian hotel bathroom to watch her get ready. It is here that we learn two important things: that there’s a travel blow dryer attachment that’s like one of those old-fashioned dryers that housewives from the ’50s would sit under to set their hair; and what Richard Gere looks like in a hotel robe. At one point, he even holds a boom mic. Cindy gets into another trouser suit, a choker, and lace-up boots, and this time Cindy mentions having felt a pang of envy at being on the other side of the runway, because Helena looked so beautiful walking down it.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AS AN EDITOR

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: AMBER VALLETTA

Amber Valletta

Model Amber Valletta in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Kate Moss wasn’t the only model who signaled the arrival of a new era of beauty. Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta were a couple of the other “New Girls” anointed by the rainmaking photographers and editors. There was definitely a year in my childhood when Amber or Shalom or Amber and Shalom dominated most of the American Vogue covers. There’s a regal, expensive quality about Amber, like she was born in Monaco and attended regattas and races as a small child while learning 11 languages. Despite her bearing, Amber started out in Tulsa, Oklahoma at age 15; four years from the time of this interview. She mentions that she had to take a class when she started out, and that her walk was awful and ungainly. She was considered too awkward and too athletic in her modeling class, but it’s her boyish physique and innocent, wide-set eyes that made her an important face in the dreamy, grunge movement typified by Kate Moss.

Amber mentions being a peaceful person who prioritizes happiness; her humility doesn’t seem insincere, but it does seem somewhat practiced. Amber reads slightly media-trained in a way that neither the supermodels nor Kate Moss displayed, which also reminds us that the job of being a model has changed. This feels like the beginning of the trend when all models parroted the party line of having been an “ugly duckling” or a “tomboy” as a part of their origin mythology. This pre-packaged story and the distortion of the paparazzi lens would signal the beginning of the end of the candid interviews we’d previously enjoyed from the personalities involved in the modeling industry. At this point, MTV had ushered in the era of reality television with the first two seasons of The Real World. Non-actors became more aware of how they were being portrayed on camera and expected to have to talk about themselves. Unlike Cindy, for whom "having a voice" was a new experience, Amber anticipates interviews as part of the job of being a model and celebrity. You can feel this shift in the level of preparedness. Sadly, with this new type of access, we'd lose a lot of the authenticity. Basically, this person saying she's "peaceful" is the sound of a million publicists cashing checks.

+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA

DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TODD OLDHAM INTERVIEWS ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO

todd oldham john galliano

'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham interviews designer John Galliano in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Todd hits Paris too, which blessedly means designer-on-designer interviews—a format, and a specific kind of chemistry, that we’ve yet to enjoy in the show. First off is Andre Walker, a downtown New York darling who held his first show at age 15 in a Brooklyn nightclub called Oasis. He worked with Willi Smith (the designer who famously created the gown Mary Jane Watson wore to marry Peter Parker in the 1987 Spiderman comic) after dropping out of high school. His fall 1993 showcase, entitled “Someone I’m In Love With Then,” is a mixture of surprisingly wearable cotton sportswear with off-kilter cuts and details.

The gathered and ballooned skirts are gorgeously cut, and despite zany stunts — like a dress called the “Nude Housewife,” with a back cut so low that it threatens to expose butt crack (and considering the bum cleavage made famous by Alexander McQueen, this is all excellent territory) — there’s an unmistakable calculation in the execution. Everything falls exactly as the designer intended. Andre says things like, “I knew [The Nude Housewife dress] was gross, but I had to take that risk. Tomorrow is gonna be grosser than today. ‘Go grosser’ is the motto of the season.” He also describes the silhouettes as “corny,” but the deliberately vague and distracting language does nothing to detract from the clothes or the fact that his flannel shirt is actually cut precisely to show an empire waist only from certain angles. Todd is smitten. Andre has since created a magazine called This Is What It Made Us Think About that’s sold exclusively in select boutiques. The first issue sold for $375. Another fashion tidbit that’s just as priceless? Andre worked closely with Marc Jacobs for a decade, until Marc fired him. Via text message. The two remain friends.

Despite the recent hullabaloo surrounding Galliano’s drunken rants and his subsequent displacement at Dior, in 1993, the designer was at the absolute peak of his career. There’s an elaborate fashion story behind this collection that follows an 1860s princess named Lucretia, who is banished while wearing enormous skirts and ringlet pigtails and shirts that are falling to pieces. She then somehow ends up in the Scottish highlands wearing jaunty, meticulously shrunken hats and hiked-up skirts because she’s met the “dotty duke” and “dotty duchess,” who ply her with gambling and gin. Of course, Lucretia then meets her prince and marries him, but this is like watching a porn with a backstory because the narrative does nothing other than to create a vehicle for the breathtaking breadth and depth of Galliano’s vision and talent.

Todd remarks how difficult it is to cut and sew pieces on the bias as Galliano does, and as difficult as it is to create volume for the 1860s period and then to hike it all up for the highlands, the real nut is how John Galliano creates everything at an angle. His slinky, silky, weightless dresses for the wedding scene are a miracle. And that he makes a see-through panel of scalloped edges in tissue-thin fabric, with pieces cut and sewn sideways to move and hug the topography of the female form, is unparalleled. Pun intended.

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM WITH ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY’S ITALIAN 'VOGUE' SHOOT WITH MAX VADUKUL

cindy crawford

Photographer Max Vadukul shoots Cindy Crawford for Italian 'Vogue' in 1993.
Photo: MTV

This could have been just another segment where we trail Cindy to the set of a magazine shoot, but this is about getting to see Max Vadukul’s unusual technique. Despite having worked multiple times with Max, the esteemed former staff photographer for The New Yorker, Cindy seems shy here. She clearly doesn’t know what to expect, and the editorial has Cindy completely stripped down, with unfussy, flattened hair and minimal makeup, so she seems particularly exposed.

Max — who is also known for shooting black-and-white Yohji Yamamoto ad campaigns — has a tiny mustache, circular glasses and a calm disposition. He takes complete advantage of Cindy’s rare vulnerability by asking her a series of disquieting questions to evoke new expressions. He asks how she’d feel if she discovered her husband in bed with another woman. He then asks her to leap and to show him her feet while closing way in to ask how she’d feel if she found out she was having triplets. There’s constant movement and you can tell that Cindy doesn’t quite know what she looks like. It’s refreshing to see her have to work for it. Because the questions and emotions require her to act, we see a new self-consciousness from our now familiar House of Style host, and a new facet of what it’s like on the set of this particular photographer’s shoot.

+ WATCH MAX VADUKUL AND CINDY CRAWFORD

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 27

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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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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.

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