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cindy crawford onyx

Cindy Crawford goes grocery shopping with Sticky Fingaz, Big DS and Suave of Onyx in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 25
Title: Back To School Edition
Original Airdate: 8/18/93
Appearances: Big DS, Sticky Fingaz and Suavé (Onyx), Todd Oldham, Carol Shaw


Cindy and a Fredro Starr-less Onyx go grocery shopping at a health food store. This is a segment created to educate college kids about nutrition so that they can avoid gaining the 15-20 pounds that we all inevitably gain that first year because class feels entirely optional and eating a chimichanga at 4 AM seemed like a good idea at the time. There are interstitials, with nutritionist Jennifer Stack, advising us against believing claims made on the front of pre-packaged food, and advising viewers to refer to the side panel for concrete nutritional information. Stack also suggests eating dry cereal as a snack, and seeking out pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables. It’s all pretty straightforward and ’90s. So, like, circa when everybody ate carbs.

Cindy and Onyx eat Fig Newtons because they have zero fat (ahem: despite the sugar content). At one point, Sticky Fingaz mentions that the store’s Corn Flakes and Cheerios are fake: They’re the small-box organic kind called “Oatios” that you often see at stores that feature juice bars. On that topic, Cindy drags Suavé, Sticky and the late Big DS to try shots of wheatgrass juice. Despite all the health benefits, the three pass on doing the shot and fake Cindy out, who drinks hers. While I understand that the segment is designed to appeal to college-aged teens by touting a healthy message from their favorite rappers, the piece feels disjointed. These guys could care less about fondling gourds at the health food store. The highlight is when Cindy blots Sticky Fingaz’s T-zone. It’s very stage mom in the best way.



white shirts chanel

White shirts on the runway at Chanel in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Fall 1993 is just like every other season since time immemorial in that white shirts are a big deal. These white shirts feature hints of the ’60s and ’70s: billowing, off-the-shoulder poet blouses with exaggerated, pointy collars that harken back to polyester leisure suits. French cuffs were also huge, as was layered suiting. This was a season for white shirts with vests; and suit-weight, sleeveless dresses with thick straps worn over them. We run the gamut from tunic-length tops with belts and a harlequin shirt from Dolce & Gabbana that features a massive Elizabethan ruff (on the lovely Kate Moss) from the other collection they design, Complice. We see offerings from Byron Lars, Rifat Ozbek, Atsuro Tayamo, Chanel, and Todd Oldham: They’re accessible and easy to mimic, and the key here is understanding how each shirt is styled and how the different silhouettes and design features are accentuated to create a high-fashion twist on a staple.



todd oldham

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham makes accessories for less than $1.98 in 1993.
Photo: MTV

It’s both laudable and laughable that House of Style gave Todd a budget of $2.00 to remix a fall wardrobe. It’s sort of like Rachael’s Ray’s “40 Dollars a Day,” in which she barely leaves a tip and never, EVER has a cocktail, because the $1.98 does not include things like whole sweaters, boots, and a hacksaw. What it does include is a slew of Sharpies, embroidery thread, beets (yup, like the kind for borscht) and a great deal of pluck and adorable ingenuity.

This particular “Todd Time” feels like we’re playing a practical joke on him, and to his credit, he creates some fascinating fashion and does lay groundwork for some ideas that you can apply to pretty much any item of clothing. There is a patchwork sweater created out of 5 other sweaters (that this fits the $1.98 budget is totally lol); given how huge patchwork was as a trend in the ’90s, it’s not a bad idea. Cutting up ill-fitting or moth-eaten sweaters in large pieces (the key being to cut an entire chest section and part of an armscye so that you don’t actually have to construct a sweater out of small swatches) and sewing them together in a large, looping, visible stitches creates a sort of frankensweater that you can at the very least guarantee no one else will have. An errant piece with arms makes a giant, floppy beanie that sort of looks like those tie-top Triple 5 Soul hats. A hacksaw applied to a pair of boots creates a rather "bless-its-heart" looking, peep-toe-boot-flip-flop situation, and bisected beets dye pink polka dots onto an old striped button-down. Sharpie squiggles finish off the look, and the whole thing is plunged into salted water for the vegetable dye to set. A backpack gets zipper pulls made out of twigs. For your efforts, the end result evokes a very crafty hobo.



carol shaw

Makeup artist Carol Shaw demonstrates back-to-school makeup tips in 1993.
Photo: MTV

The entire back-to-school episode feels very much like a teen magazine except that here we get to see real professionals bringing the lessons to life with moving images. Makeup artist Carol Shaw holds our hand and walks us through a series of small, manageable info nuggets on how to apply different cosmetics. Carol is also the founder of the makeup company Lorac (“Carol” backwards) that’s still popular today, but her tips are wholly product agnostic.

Carol suggests fragrance-free products, and instructs us on how to bend the wand of a new tube of Maybelline Great Lash so that you can pile it on with more accuracy. She also advises us to smile while applying blush so that we know where it goes; she recommends light coverage on foundation because in that case (unlike mascara), less is more. She tells us that moisturizer, cleanser and toner are all you need for a skin-care regimen, as most of us already know. The one thing she teaches that’s a true boon is how to use foundation to lighten lipstick colors, and how to use the back of your hand like a painter’s mixing palette to create the hue you want. This way you can create an entire gradient of browns, peaches, pinks and reds from a single tube. Definitely handy advice for a college kid on a budget.



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cindy crawford jon stewart

Cindy Crawford with MTV Correspondent Jon Stewart and Director of Elite Model Management Ann Veltri in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Season: 6 Episode: 29
Title: Winter Edition
Original Airdate: 2/9/94
Appearances: Jon Stewart, Todd Oldham, Sybil Buck


Before he was the silver fox host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart was a big deal at MTV, helming his own eponymous talk show from 1993-1994. His time slot pitted him against late-night stalwarts like Leno and Letterman, so his run ended up being short-lived. Which is a huge shame because the show was critical for two reasons. One, it featured musical guests who at the time could not otherwise get the shine: Marilyn Manson, Sunny Day Real Estate, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Slayer and Biggie. Another thing is that the producer of The Jon Stewart Show, Madeleine Smithberg, would go on to create The Daily Show, which has of course seen an extraordinary, award-winning run, with Stewart at the helm since Craig Kilborn peaced in the late ’90s.

In this clip, we see Jon shadowing Cindy on her errands, to comedic effect. He cracks everybody up, but it’s sorta sadface because it’s like watching some poor bastard get “friend zoned” by a hot chick who just wants a smart, funny dude to tag along behind her like some neutered lapdog. They visit Cindy’s modeling agency, Elite, where they go through Cindy’s schedule with her agent and clown around. Jon’s recognized by some of the agency’s new faces, and gets to briefly man a casting couch. The floppy-haired comic then accompanies the model to her mani/pedi appointment at Stephen Knoll. He remarks upon how absurd it is that women sit around “pruning each other” while having his feet massaged and his hands moisturized, and then they hit the gym for Cindy’s workout with trainer Radu. Medicine ball sit-ups and basketball end the day; with Jon smoking cigarettes during his crunches.



runway spring 94

The highs and lows of the Spring '94 runway shows.
Photo: MTV

On the runways of Chloe, Byron Lars, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Anna Sui, Marcel Marongiv, John Galliano, and Thierry Mugler, several trends are in raging for dominance. Underwear as outerwear, as seen in prior seasons, is still going strong, this time with long, spaghetti-strapped slips worn as dresses. Hair is piled high, curled and festooned with trails of ribbons. Anna Sui dominates the grunge baby doll scene with A-line mini-dresses with large collars on androgynous model (and Angelina Jolie ex) Jenny Shimizu, as well as on male models. Another male model, Donovan, does the robot on the runway in a metallic suit (also at Sui). And the late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence walks hand-in-hand with his girlfriend, Helena Christensen at Thierry Mugler. Hutchence has a large silver spike through his nose, and Christensen wears a leather bustier dress covered in spikes and fringe.

The best show is John Galliano’s (discussed at length in an earlier episode). The worst, in my personal opinion, is a rare misstep from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. The clownishly exaggerated “hip-hop-inspired” knee shorts with suspenders are unflattering, with a voyeuristic petting-zoo philosophy that borders on racism. The hair is vexing as well: Meant to evoke natural hair that has been poorly relaxed, it just looks bedraggled and messy.



todd oldham

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham makes layers look cool in 1994.
Photo: MTV

Todd Oldham is a godsend. Here, he teaches us a classic “from the runway to the real world” lesson in layering, starting out with an idea from his own show. For the runway, Todd paired a cropped crochet sweater over a long, patterned georgette shirt; for an alternate version, he advises us to shop in the kid’s section of The Gap for a tiny sweater vest to wear over any filmy shirt. Next up is a nod to the Comme Des Garçons trick of putting a fitted, thin, crew-neck, long-sleeved sweater over a suit jacket or blazer to reveal the large patch pockets of the jacket that now billows out slightly at the waist.

At Rifat Ozbek, a bra is worn over a mock turtleneck to showcase “underlayering” — putting what you’d typically wear underneath over your outside clothes. A prime example of this is to put a tank top over a long-sleeved shirt. Mixing seasons is another way to rethink layers, like wearing a summer dress over a sweater or a white cotton peasant blouse over a thick wool turtleneck. It’s more instruction on how to style things you already own, using cues from your favorite designers. Todd’s cheat sheet is all about understanding proportion, a keen sense of color and a hefty dose of attitude.



sibyl buck

Model Sibyl Buck in 1994.
Photo: MTV

In many ways, Sibyl Buck epitomizes the lifestyle aspects of the grunge movement. Kate Moss and Amber Valletta evoke a type of stylized grunge or “fashion grunge,” with their pale skin, doe eyes and seemingly meek dispositions. The critical difference is that they were also both versatile in a way that made them aesthetically malleable depending on the job or designer.

Sibyl Buck, with her septum piercing and dreadlocked red hair, was often hired for her specific look. During a tour of her apartment, we go through her music collection; she cites The Melvins and Bad Brains as favorites. Some headbanging takes place before she shows off her overalls collection; then we’re taken up to her roof to watch her skateboard. She is very much a tomboy — all elbows and knees — and she notes that her clients hate how often she shows up for jobs with scabs all over her legs. Sibyl quit modeling in 1998 to focus on a music career: She currently plays bass for The Lonely Astronauts.



snowboard style

Snowboarder style on the slopes in 1994.
Photo: MTV

In 1994, long before it was an Olympic sport, snowboarding was still very much defined as an alternative to skiing. The aesthetic, as such, was a sharp departure from neon, preppy, matching outfits, and much more closely aligned with skate clothing of the era. The jackets were oversized and the pants were “phat” (true story) to allow for layering and warmth. The really interesting part of this segment is how far technology has come since snowboarding grew as an industry. Back then, the larger clothing allowed for higher mobility, whereas contemporary textile technology allows for four-way stretch in waterproof, shell-covered fleece that’s infinitely less cumbersome and less reliant on layers.

The snowboarding kids of almost 20 years ago employ an admirable degree of DIY ingenuity to combat such functional shortcomings. They saw off the top of soft boots for added movement, layer boots, wear several mitts or “hot pads” together keep their hands warm, some layers even looking like they’re covered in duct tape. In 1994, snowboarders were still the “pirates of the mountain,” and the long-haired kids freezing their asses off definitely show a great deal of commitment.



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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


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.



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.



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.



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

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