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jason lewis

Male model Jason Lewis in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 54
Title: Men's Edition
Original Airdate: 11/25/96
Appearances: Jason Lewis, Todd Oldham

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: JASON LEWIS

In this segment, we visit with a fetching young lad by the name of Jason Lewis. Um, as in Smith Jared, a.k.a. Samantha’s boyfriend on Sex And The City, a.k.a. the superhot, crazy-emo, well-adjusted mancake who shaved his head in cancer solidarity and totally waited for Samantha to get done having sex with that awful trollmonster Richard just to make sure she got home safely. Such a peach.

Anyway, Jason Lewis seems to be a stand-up guy, too. He only got into modeling so that he could bankroll a trip to France and his first job landed him in Paris. The gig led to other jobs that allowed him to see the world, which is what happens when you look a certain way without a shirt on.

We drive to Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York with Jason in his very butch vintage pick-up truck. He discusses his life philosophy and his musical tastes while leaping on rocks and paddling a canoe. He talks about wanting to act, and says he frequently checks out local plays. At one point, he goes to visit with a tiny donkey, and it's so that SNL sketch where Andy Samberg’s pretending to be Mark Wahlberg and tells farm animals, “Say hello to your mother for me.”

Jason’s runway footage is dreamy. You get to see him in swim trunks, suits, shorts, and occasionally with a deep part in his slicked blond hair. But regardless of his successes, you can tell that Jason is not long for the modeling world.

+ WATCH JASON LEWIS

STREET STYLE: SPORTSWEAR FOR REGULAR DUDES

mens sportswear

Men's sportswear from Adidas in 1996.
Photo: MTV

For this latest House of Style episode for guys, we’ve got a sportswear segment that’s basically an Eastbay catalog come to life. The styling tips are confusing since there’s not a single dude I know who would consider mixing metaphors like Adidas kicks with Nike clothing, but the layering is pleasant and it’s great to see so many throwback sneakers and separates. The gold lamé Nike pullover and the siiiiiiick adidas goalie jersey that’s printed to resemble a ribcage are particularly choice. Labels run the gamut from Nautica competition, Umbro, The North Face, Reebok and throwback Tommy Hilfiger basketball gear, but I can’t help wishing there were more vintage Polo.

+ WATCH MENS SPORTSWEAR

STREET STYLE: WHAT GUYS ARE WEARING

men fashion

Men's street fashion in 1996.
Photo: MTV

We hit the streets to see what real-life guys are wearing in 1996. It’s a host of baggy pants, lug-heeled boots, messenger bags, facial piercings, hats, vintage polyester shirts, grandpa sweaters, plaid pants, Tommy Hilfiger, bug-eyed sunglasses, and long hair and short hair laquered in crunchy gel. The mid-’90s reminds us that matte molding clay, ’50s minimalist sunglasses, and J. Crew liquor store are a godsend. Also, the fact that every third guy in a major metropolitan area doesn’t need to have a labret piercing anymore is wonderful as well.

+ WATCH MENS STREET STYLE

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: TODD HELPS LAZY GUYS

todd oldham

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham gives lazy guy tips for cutting hair in 1996.
Photo: MTV

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Todd Oldham is a generous, service-oriented guy. In this PSA for lazy dudes, Todd takes a pair of scissors and teaches them how to hem their trousers, alter a V-neck sweater into a cardigan, create a banded-collar shirt from a regular button-down, make a Sid Vicious necklace from items acquired on a trip to the hardware store (a lighter version of the Jersey one we saw with Naughty By Nature, modify your sneakers and cut your own hair. It’s funny because you can see girlfriends and moms being both delighted and horrified by the results.

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM RECALL HIS FAVORITE LAZY GUY TIP ON 'HOUSE OF STYLE: MUSIC, MODELS, AND MTV'


Advising a lazy guy on how to use his knuckles as a yardstick for hacking away at his own hair is genius. So is showing them how to get a frayed edge on snipped trousers using a hairbrush. Replacing sneaker laces with elastic to create slip-ons is similarly brilliant. I wish there were tips for girls, too, because boy am I tired.

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM'S LAZY GUY TIPS

STREET STYLE: GREEN BARREL, THE NEXT WAVE OF SKATE SHOP

green barrel

Green Barrel skate shop owner Scott Stanton in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Green Barrel was a skate shop Scott Stanton and Brian Cropp opened in Washington D.C. Not to open up the credibility can of worms, but this segment is a look into how lucrative the skate subculture has become just in the five years prior. The partners graduated from college and traveled through Europe while figuring out what they wanted to pursue; then they returned, secured financing and opened a store.

The store is less a hang-out like the X-Large store or traditional skate shops but is designed for commerce. It’s meant to be welcoming for parents, it features an extensive girls’ section, and sells articles of clothing that suggest the lifestyle elements of the “skate look” without being intended for riding. There’s a vintage section with trendier, experimental options — like a fine wale horizontal corduroy trouser. The founders know all the trends within the community. They make note of how skaters aren't into XXL shirts anymore and that the silhouette is becoming leaner and longer. They even follow womenswear trends like hip-huggers, baby tees and studded belts.

While you can’t knock Cropp and Stanton’s business acumen for setting up shop in what was likely an underserved community, it’s interesting to note how mall-friendly this iteration of the skate shop is. It wouldn’t be surprising if they were criticized for selling out, but it’s still interesting to see how, as subcultures gain notoriety and momentum, they can attract entrepreneurs.

+ WATCH THE GREEN BARREL SKATE SHOP

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 54

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jay-z rocawear

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

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

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

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

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

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

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: CHRIS ROCK FINDS A HOSTING OUTFIT

chris rock

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

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

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: CHRIS ROCK IN CALVIN KLEIN

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

lil kim

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

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

Oh, and her shoes were Steve Madden.

diana ross lil kim boobie

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

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: LIL' KIM'S ONESIE

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: DONATELLA VERSACE STANDS UP FOR THE STREETS

donatella versace

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

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

+ WATCH 1999 VMAS: DONATELLA VERSACE

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM VMA 1999/a>

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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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