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Cindy Crawford interviews rapper Will Smith on the set of the 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 2 Episode: 6
Title: Winter '90
Original Airdate: 11/28/90
Appearances: Will Smith, Lady Miss Kier (Deee-lite)

DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: CINDY HANGS OUT WITH WILL SMITH ON THE SET OF 'FRESH PRINCE'

The thing about Cindy was that you could send her anywhere. She's as down to visit a European atelier as she is to visit the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In this segment, Cindy hangs out with Will Smith at the “mansion” for a fourth wall-shattering tour of the brocade furniture-filled set, and for a snoop through Will’s wardrobe. This is 1991, so Will’s closet is filled with double-breasted blazers with enormous, peak lapels featuring wooden Afrocentric brooches, crazily patterned button-down silk shirts—like, straight up Cuba Gooding Jr. in Boyz 'N The Hood—and another shirt that I swear is the precursor to the dollar-sign-all-over-print that would dominate streetwear in another ten years. There's also a LEATHER black and white starter jacket that comes with a matching hat (also leather). The two play dress up, and it’s enjoyable because Cindy’s a nerd. Seriously, she brings a pair of Jordan Vs to show Will (Will is wearing Jordan warm-ups) and asks for his approval. She’s so proud of herself for not having removed the tags and wants scene cred because “Humpty Dumpty told me that.” Will then loses his mind laughing at her: “It’s just Humpty!” referring to the alter ego of Shock G from Digital Underground. It’s fantastic.

You know how models love talking about how awkward they were as kids and you never quite believe them? Well, in this moment you do. You see the relatable side of Cindy, and it is charming as hell. It makes you appreciate how young Cindy is—college-age in fact—and it’s the one moment that you see her socialize (albeit with an actor/rapper) in a youthful, peer-group context. It's a surprisingly revealing moment between two super-professional, famous young adults and another way of contextualizing fashion without designers, labels and the runway.

+ WATCH CINDY AT 'FRESH PRINCE' WITH WILL SMITH


MUSIC AND FASHION: LADY MISS KIER’S WORDS OF WISDOM

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Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite in Patricia Field's original store in 1990.
Photo: MTV

The frontwoman for Deee-Lite, Lady Miss Kier, sits in Patricia Field’s boutique with an immaculately flipped coif and signature vintage duds. While we couldn’t get the video, I wanted to show you the interior of the store, because this is clearly not Pat’s current storefront on 302 Bowery or the new, new storefront that’s opened a few doors down, but House of Field! It’s the original shop on 8th Street between 5th Avenue and University Place, Pat’s first location for 40 years (Pat also lived on the top floor), before she moved in the early aughts.

We speak to Lady Miss Kier about the huge ’60s revival in 1990, when everyone was dripping in Flower Power prints like daisies and sunflowers; John Lennon sunglasses; denim flares; and A-line mod shift dresses, because she embodies the decade visually and gives great, timeless advice. “Gravitate towards the things that you like, and feel comfortable in,” she says, “but don’t let anyone else tell you what’s in or what is out. Everything is taken from the past, but it’s really just knowing when to bring something that’s a classic back. Nothing is really new, it’s just how you bring it back.”

Lady Miss Kier knows fashion. She moved to New York to study Textile Design at FIT and subsequently dropped out to create clothing for her DJ friends before creating the look of Deee-Lite, including her characteristic groovy, zip-up catsuit/platform shoe/thick headband aesthetic.

MUSIC AND FASHION: PRINCE OPENS A CHAIN OF NIGHTCLUBS AND BOUTIQUES

prince glam slam

Prince's night club, Glam Slam in 1990.
Photo: MTV

True story: From 1989 to 1995, Prince had a chain of clubs called Glam Slam that also featured a boutique with the same name. Prince put Minneapolis nightlife on the map with Purple Rain by hanging out and filming at a local club called First Avenue, and he wanted to create a similarly memorable atmosphere called Glam Slam for its sequel—Graffiti Bridge.

There were four Glam Slams—the original in Minneapolis, Minnesota; one in Miami (Glam Slam East); one in Los Angeles (Glam Slam West); and one in Yokohama, Japan. All have either closed or are now unaffiliated with Prince, but the part that’s most interesting is the inclusion of a gift store in each of these nightclubs (MEEEEEEEEP!!! Can you EVEN imagine a string of boutiques stocking Prince-approved sundries that you can drunk-shop? Nuts!). The offerings were created by Helen Hiatt, the costume designer for Graffiti Bridge, and are largely based on the wardrobe for the film. There are loud suits, chain fringe leather jackets, jackets decorated with license plates (this was a HUGE design concept in the ’90s for reasons that remain mysterious [see also: the appeal of stuff made from seat belts]), and Prince symbol belts and jewelry. It sort of reminds me of how that irritating, guylinered bro-gician Criss Angel has a store in Vegas, except that Prince’s stores are infinitely cooler, and I can’t help thinking that a thoroughly curated museum collection would be an important contribution to the music/fashion canon.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 6

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Cindy Crawford goes backstage to find out what models think of posing nude in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Season: 6 Episode: 31
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 6/9/94
Appearances: Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Calvin Klein, Manon Rhéaume, Kim Gordon, Daisy Von Furth, Sofia Coppola, Spike Jonze

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: THE NUDITY DEBATE

Fashion is one thing, but for this segment House Of Style interviews Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen and Niki Taylor on the subject of modeling nothing: in other words, posing nude. Of the models, Niki is the only one who opts out of nudity entirely: “My body’s for my man.” Cindy talks about her decision to do Playboy because it exposes her to a new audience that may not read fashion magazines (but who obviously get Playboy for the articles). Kate talks about the appeal of her Obsession ads, with Calvin Klein chiming in to comment on the sensual nature of perfume and how challenging it can be to sell a feeling. He believes the Obsession ads are compelling not just for the nudity, but for the expression on Kate Moss’s face.

Many of the models agree that your relationship with the photographer — and the resulting level of confidence and comfort — is a huge part of why they’d choose to do nude campaigns or editorial; they appear genuinely confused about the backlash. A nude Allure cover image got the magazine banned in some parts of California, and Helena’s topless campaign for Express Jeans led to some store boycotts. Stephanie Seymour sizes up the experience best when she equates nude photos with getting a tattoo: It’s permanent, and can haunt you forever, so you have to take your time to do it right, make sure you’re protected and ensure that the photos are done in good taste.

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: KEVIN MANCUSO'S HAIR TIPS

kevin mancuso

Summer hairstyles by hairstylist Kevin Mancuso in 1994.
Photo: MTV

To be a teen in the ’90s is to know what it’s like to have a ridiculous hairstyle (or a series of them). It was the era of tiny hair barrettes, over-complicated pigtails, white-girl dreads and French twists. In this how-to hair segment, we have celebrity stylist Kevin Mancuso (trusted stylist to Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift in Central Park, displaying the bemusing summer up-dos that were all the rage in 1994. One liberally employs brightly-colored pipe cleaners. Another involves tiny Björk-style rave twists piled on the crown of the head with ends hanging down to create a fringe. Then there’s the repeated teasing and spraying that felts sections of hair into loose dreadlocks. Finally, there’s a side-parted, gelled, sleek look, with a wee pompadour for a rock-hard coif.

+ WATCH KEVIN MANCUSO ON SUMMER HAIR

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: MANON RHÉAUME, THE FIRST LADY OF HOCKEY, MODELS

manon rheaume

Professional female hockey player Manon Rhéaume in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Applying what the boys of Dirt magazine did in their fashion editorial, here we use clothing to call attention to someone regular House of Style viewers may not be familiar with. Manon Rhéaume was the first lady of hockey. A Quebec native, she started skating at 3, and was the first woman to sign to a professional team in 1992 when she joined the Tampa Bay Lightning. She’s the OG Roller Derby Girl and famously turned down an offer to pose nude in Playboy. She also happens to be beautiful.

Here, Manon models Patricia Field and Antique Boutique on the ice. There are metallic jackets with leggings; tiny denim shorts and shrunken shirts; mini-skirts and pigtails. The infantilizing (or “kinderwhore”) trend that was huge in the ’90s is kinda a buzzkill, since Rhéaume’s strong and talented, and the costume changes are interspersed with interviews with her male teammates, talking about her incredible capability and athleticism. In one portion, Rhéaume’s skating around eating a soft-serve ice cream cone, and it looks sort of porn-y. But then she takes a spill and lands on her ass in the changing room, cracking up riotously over the splat of ice cream on the floor, which makes you fall right back in love with her.

+ WATCH MANON RHÉAUME

STREET STYLE: X-GIRL FASHION SHOW

sofia coppola spike jonze

Milkfed designer Sofia Coppola and video director Spike Jonze at the X-Girl streetwear fashion show in 1994.
Photo: MTV

X-Girl is the sister line to the X-Large brand, and to commemorate the launch of the collection designed by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and stylist Daisy von Furth, the crew throw a renegade fashion show on Wooster Street, across from Marc Jacobs’s show, produced by indie darlings Sofia Coppola and then-boyfriend Spike Jonze. It is an unspeakably cool gambit: There’s a white sheet spray painted with the logo strung up in the background, and a milling crowd comprised of the likes of Zoe Cassavetes, Donovan Leitch, Francis Ford Coppola, The Beastie Boys, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., and My So-Called Life Christmas ghost Juliana Hatfield. Once the Marc Jacobs show lets out, Steven Meisel, Anna Sui, Bill Cunningham, Linda Evangelista and Linda’s then-boyfriend actor Kyle MacLachlan join the others. Actress Ione Skye (then married to Adam Horovitz) models, as does downtown “It” girl Chloë Sevigny. The director Mike Mills designed the X-Girl logo, and most of the clothes resemble thrifted sportswear pieces. There are carefully cut T-shirts that are inspired by deadstock football jerseys, tennis shirts, and ringer tees (a.k.a. the “uniform for indie rockers”). The two founding designers and Chloë Sevigny were the fit models, so the clothes run small, but the focus of the abbreviated clothes is not on being conventionally sexy. The A-line silhouette of the mini-skirts and thigh-skimming dresses was intended to be flattering, but Gordon and von Furth’s design philosophy eschewed lycra because it was too clingy. Built by Wendy's Wendy Mullin also worked on several of the first collections. She has a scrapbook on her site that recounts some of those early days, and she reminisces on how Kurt Cobain's death had happened so close to the show that it cast a pall over the excitement in the hours leading up to the event.

It’s interesting to note that a lot of the more mall-ready clothes of the era, from Judy’s to Contempo Casuals, featured a lot of slippery, tight near-100% lycra compositions for their baby dolls. X-Girl was more about architectural construction: The short-sleeved, crew-neck dresses were cut narrow but not tight, in order to graze the body without confining it. It was a nod to the crispness of mod, as was the choice for all the models to wear flats. Von Furth also makes sure to note that their trousers are low-slung and intended for the skater girl who does not have to relegate herself to wearing oversized boy’s pants that are not made for her physique. The stove-pipe leg is carried throughout, but with a low-slung, tighter fit around a waist with a flattering, thick band. Gordon is notably 7 months pregnant with a daughter she says she hopes is a riot grrl.

X-Girl was important because it was cool enough to be exclusive and fetch a hefty, limited-edition price tag, but none of the pieces ran north of $60 — a fact that was important to von Furth, who says that most of her peers buy their clothes at vintage stores. She is an obvious fashion and construction nerd, rattling off the exact years the clothes evoke; her deceptively simple design features contributed significantly to the line’s popularity.

X-Girl stores have closed since the production of this segment, though the label still exists in Japan. A collaboration with Nike Sportswear was only available in Japan; there have also been collaborations with various bag brands. Two years after this show, von Furth is quoted in Vice about her styling work on a recent story in Dirt: “There was this cute kid named Mark Ronson [ed note: !!!!!] and it was about the lost generation of 1978… Alligator shirts and puffy down jackets and Rod Lavers.” Kim Gordon continues to work in fashion as well, and collaborated with Surface to Air in 2012. But this segment in 1994 is a huge moment in terms of the way mainstream fashion is being upstaged by streetwear, and how the power dynamic has shifted from the runway to the cool kids downtown. At one point, Sofia points out, somewhat facetiously, “You too can have a fashion show.” The words are enormously prophetic.

+ WATCH X-GIRL FASHION SHOW

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 31

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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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