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cindy crawford house of style

Cindy Crawford in Episode 1 of 'House of Style' wearing Azzedine Alaia in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Season: 1 Episode: 1
Title: Summer Fashion (Series Premiere)
Original Airdate: 6/2/89
Appearances: Salt N' Pepa, Spinderella, Gael Love (Fame magazine), Kurt Andersen (Spy Magazine), E. Graydon Carter (Spy magazine), Jane Pratt (Sassy magazine), Stephen Saban (Details magazine), Herb Ritts, Winona Ryder

MUSIC AND FASHION: SALT-N-PEPA AND SPINDERELLA MODEL SUMMER LOOKS

salt n pepa fashion

Salt-N-Pepa wearing Betsey Johnson in 1989.
Photo: MTV

For the kick-off segment to the series, we've got Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella modelling summer looks to their own music and hamming it up something spectacular. It is as fantastic as you'd expect. Cheryl and Sandra have remained relevant throughout the years—we’ve seen them disband, star in a reality TV show for VH1, regroup and perform on The X Factor—so this is one of those “DAMN, these ladies were young in 1989!” moments. They aren’t quite media-trained yet, and that's not a dig: You can tell they don’t know what their faces look like onscreen and their voice overs are extra earnest. They dance-model with gusto and they're easygoing about the multiple outfit changes and the lo-fi appeal of the backdrop since most of the fashion show happens in a Mexican restaurant. Literally. As in, with sombrero wallpaper.

The labels range from Katharine Hamnett to Damsels in Distress and from Bryan Early to Betsey Johnson, and Stussy. It’s notable how contemporary recording artists are so conscious of fashion and labels, yet you can sorta tell that Salt, Pepa and Spin aren't completely familiarized. You get to actually watch Salt discover and fall in love with Betsey Johnson clothes during the shoot. If only we could have been a fly on the wall to watch a young Katy Perry put on head-to-toe Jeremy Scott for the first time, or Lady Gaga try on Mugler. That moment of fashion quickening is always wonderful to witness.

+ WATCH SALT-N-PEPA AND SPINDERELLA MODEL


POP CULTURE AND FASHION: RISE OF THE LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

kurt anderson spy magazine

'Spy' magazine editors E. Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Here’s where House of Style gets “television news-magazine”-ish. In this trend piece on the proliferation of style magazines (“style” here denotes “lifestyle” in contemporary parlance), we speak to Gael Love, Editor-In-Chief of Fame. This is a lady who notoriously arrived at the office at 4:00pm to leave at 8:00pm, had previously worked at Interview and was glibly mentioned in Andy Warhol’s diaries. No big deal. After Fame folded in 1991 and several subsequent editorial ventures were dissolved, Love went on to pursue a law degree — a sabbatical from publishing that’s notable for the fact that she also worked part-time at a Chanel store. Hello employee discount.

Another beloved magazine, Spy also ended up folding, and there have been buyouts, relaunches and a coffee table book on the subject since then, but seeing as this is 1989, Spy is green, ruthless and making a huge splash within NYC and L.A. media circles. Hollywood hated them. It was great. Here we talk to a young Kurt Andersen and E. Graydon Carter (the “E” has since been lopped off). They’re so hungry and their eyes glitter with ambition and you can just tell they’re the cool kids of the bunch.

If you’re not familiar with Spy, you should search the Internet for vintage issues and rando scans because it’s one of the funniest magazines in the history of words. Full stop. In this clip, Andersen (who is now a Peabody-award winning radio host and novelist) is wearing dad/Jerry Seinfeld jeans and what appears to be a Gap flannel. He’s got wonderful, floppy, rich-guy hair, and despite looking unassuming, he says evil things like “People ask us, ‘Why don’t you have articles that celebrate people?’ Because that’s not what we do.” Chilling.

Carter, the leonine EIC of Vanity Fair wears a blazer (single-breasted; probably Anderson & Sheppard [a Savile Row tailor he’s since written a book about]) a spread collar shirt with French cuffs (obvi), patterned tie (with a tiny knot [also obvi]), a V-neck sweater and a pocket square. Though Spy would pack it in in 1998, the two would leave in 1991, terming their tenure “The Funny Years.”

Next, we have an interview with Jane Pratt AS A BRUNETTE *thunder clap*. If you’re not familiar with Jane, you’re doing it wrong. She was the creator and EIC of Sassy, a magazine that love-fried everyone's brains because it was a dazzling girls' magazine that talked like your best friend (FINALLY) on any topic, even the dicey ones like suicide, AIDS, and drugs. It also had the best sex advice that was honest and non-judgey and it kills me dead that it doesn't exist anymore. Pratt would go on to launch Jane magazine and the site xojane.com. Oh, and she has blonde hair now. And her eyebrows look different.

Next up: the original Details, which is not anything like the Details you see on newsstands these days. In 1989, Details was an NYC journal that chronicled the goings-on of the city’s underground scene. Here, we interview Stephen Saban, a nightlife reporter, but those of you who have any concept of OG Details probably know it from the documentary about New York Times fashion photography LEGEND Bill Cunningham. Cunningham used to work at Details, and there’s this whole part in the film about how he never once cashed a check from them (not even when it was sold for many, many boatloads of dollars) because he loved the creative freedom of working for free because it granted him license to print his stories at whatever length he chose. Of course, I would've tried to hustle the power and the money but it's because I'm a bad person and he is a unicorn saint.

Bonus Easter egg: This episode aired SO LONG AGO that it recounts the firing of 17-year veteran American Vogue EIC Grace Mirabella, and never once mentions by name the woman who succeeded her—Anna Wintour. I guess she’d yet to prove herself at the helm, which she has since done (understatement). Love you Anna! Never change!

+ WATCH STYLE MAGAZINES


POP CULTURE AND FASHION: GAP’S FAMOUS AD CAMPAIGN

herb ritts

Photographer Herb Ritts in 1989.
Photo: MTV

This segment runs through the origin story of the San Francisco label and its creator, Don Fisher, but then moves on to profile Millard "Mickey" S. Drexler, the creative director, who in 1983 enlisted the help of 20 fashion designers to create capsule collections that changed Gap’s brand positioning from the chain store that peddled fuddy-duddy khakis to purveyors of vibrant, relevant and trendy staples. Currently Drexler is the chairman and CEO of the J.Crew group and a director at Apple Inc. because clearly he is a retail genius.

The capsule collections are shown briefly and feature over-dyed espadrilles, floral canvas weekenders and gingham satchels that would all be at home on a display in J.Crew today. There are also racks upon racks of denim overalls, which are so having another moment this fall. The part of the story that’s memorable for the fash crowd is how they hired photographers Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel and Herb Ritts to create a black-and-white campaign for print and billboard. Some of you will be too young to remember, but they were these sexy portraits of celebrities and regular folk, each wearing a Gap article incorporated into their regular wardrobe. The one of Jackie Joyner-Kersee in a white sleeveless tee and white underwear with sleek muscles rippling is captivating, mostly because it was an accessible garment shot in a high-fashion way on a gorgeous athletic physique. It was pure art.

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: HOW TO HACK FRENCH STYLE

winona ryder

Actress Winona Ryder shares her opinion of French style in 1989.
Photo: MTV

It’s the Bienniale! Well, at least it was when this segment aired, which means that 1989 marked the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. To commemorate the occasion, HOS kicked it Francophilic. We look at Chanel suits and... well... knock them off. It's hilarious that a television show would teach you how to hack Chanel but then again House of Style frequently thumbed their nose at straitlaced fashion programming. Speaking of hilarious, there's also this absurd-wonderful moment, without any explanation, where we catch up with Winona Ryder on the set of a video shoot and she’s wearing a wedding dress with a veil and says, “French is very chichi to me…big lips and little dresses.” She smiles goofily in a way that makes her the most beautiful woman in the world and I just really wanted to point it out so we could talk about how she dated Johnny Depp and then later Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and then Matt Damon when her bestie Gwyneth Paltrow was dating Ben Affleck because I can't be the only one storing such useless information in my head. Right?

+ WATCH FRENCH STYLE


POP CULTURE AND FASHION: "THE LOVE BALL”

OK, so we have no footage of this because we couldn’t clear squat and we only ran it momentarily with the end credits BUT I’d like to high-five series creator Alisa Bellettini for covering the first Love Ball. This was the year former boutique owner, bon vivant, and nightlife doyenne Susanne Bartsch presented the very first Love Ball at Roseland ballroom. Specifically, this is the moment “Voguing” reached the masses (VERY important). Amongst the attendees were Superstar DJ Keoki, Michael Musto (Village Voice), Stephen Saban (Details), Picnic Smith, Steve Rubell (co-owner of Studio 54), Lady Miss Kier and DJ Dmitry (Deee-Lite), RuPaul, Katy K, The Lady Bunny (infamous drag queen), Kim Hastreiter and Mickey Boardman (Paper), Keith Haring, Michael Alig (currently incarcerated for murdering fellow club kid Angel Melendez, which is covered in the documentary and film, Party Monster), Andre Leon Talley, Tony Award winner (and former Mrs. Bob Fosse) Gwen Verdon, Paris DuPree (as in Paris Is Burning), video artist Nelson Sullivan, Chic composer and guitarist Nile Rodgers, and filmmaker David Byrne. Major. The Love Ball has raised millions in the fight against AIDS. Dear Internet: I NEED a three-part documentary series on this subject please. Thank you.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 1

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dee dee ramone

Musician Dee Dee Ramone gets a makeover from designer Paul Smith in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Season: 1 Episode: 2
Title: Fall '89
Original Airdate: 8/26/89
Appearances: Dee Dee Ramone, Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier

MUSIC AND FASHION: DEE DEE RAMONE GETS A PAUL SMITH MAKEOVER

Much has changed in the decades following the second episode of HOS, particularly the number of talented people who have passed since 1989. Among them is Dee Dee Ramone, bassist for the iconoclastic punk rock band The Ramones, who in this clip gets a makeover courtesy of the designer Paul Smith. Spoiler: It is AMAZING.

The allure of juxtaposing the punk rock bassist with the buttoned-up British clothier is pretty obvious, but the degree to which Smith and Ramone enjoy each other's company is a thrill. The segment begins with Dee Dee rolling out of bed, lighting a cigarette, drinking a Diet Coke and then rolling up to the Paul Smith flagship in mirrored aviator glasses, slicked-back hair, torn jeans and a heavily embellished vest with no shirt. It is crucial to note how hot he looks. Take a moment should you need to.

It’s a lovefest. Dee Dee makes a beeline for a jacket, strokes it and realizes that it's cashmere. This acts as some sort of signal because from there on out, Smith and Ramone are turned out and besotted with each other. Smith, for all his pointed Englishness, is not a stuffed shirt and the peacock-ish pieces he selects for the Pygmalion-ing are right up Dee Dee’s alley.

Smith (who looks fantastic in a red shirt with impossibly long collar tips, and a yellow polka dotted tie tucked into the shirt as if he’s a banker dining in a restaurant or a waiter at an up-market steak house) chooses a vest adorned with framed portraits of Indian deities, a shawl-collar tuxedo that fits the bassist like a dream, especially when paired with a burlap Guatemalan cumberbund. An additional vest is festooned with printed pheasant feathers. Then there’s the pièce de resistance: a neon pink raincoat.

Honestly, it’s basically every girl’s Pretty Woman shopping-montage fantasy, except with two hardcore, grown dudes who quite clearly want to draw cartoon hearts and emoji faces all over each other.

+ WATCH DEE DEE RAMONE'S MAKEOVER


MUSIC AND FASHION: HIP-HOP STYLE

dapper dan harlem

Dapper Dan in his store in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Hip-hop fashion in 1989 was marvelous and, given House of Style's base of operation, very New York-centric. We start with a talking head piece featuring Monica Lynch, the president of Tommy Boy Records (then home to De La Soul, Digital Underground, Biz Markie, House of Pain, Naughty By Nature), Russell Simmons, DMC, Posdnous, Trugoy and Queen Latifah, but it also includes a brief interview with fashion designer Dapper Dan. As immortalized in rap lyrics like “Wear a G on my chest I don’t need Dapper Dan” by Jay-Z, Dapper Dan is not to be confused with the boss of the Minnesotan Irish mob, Dapper Danny Hogan. Though, to be fair, both were very fancy.

Dan ran an atelier in Harlem that was open 24 hours a day, and his bespoke suits, that featured allover Louis Vuitton or Gucci monograms play a major part on various Eric B. and Rakim album covers. Any time you see Justin Bieber in allover MCM, consider it a hat tip to Dan. Speaking of which, remember when JB bought GF Selena all those monogram purses, too? Monica Lynch nutshells it perfectly: “Whatever the kids in hip-hop are starting today is what middle America is going to be wearing tomorrow.” Apparently, it’s also what Canadian megastars will elect to wear over two decades later.

MUSIC AND FASHION: THE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR MERCHANDISING MACHINE

metallica concert t-shirts

Rock 'n roll merchandising and big hair in 1989.
Photo: MTV

Back in the day, there were two behemoths in the multi-million-dollar music merch industry: Winterland and Brockum. “We’re kinda the Coca-Cola and Pepsi of the industry,” says Dell Furano, president of the West Coast-based Winterland. (Brockum was on the east.) Winterland peddled merch for Springsteen, Madonna and George Michael, while Brockum screen-printed tees for Guns ’N Roses, The Rolling Stones and Metallica.

We take a tour through both facilities, featuring cult collectibles like the “Metallican,” the Japan-only Metallica CD packaging that came in a can; and the Michael Jackson boxset book that was released when the King of Pop was at his prime. Roger Gorman, principal designer for the project, recalls what it was like to work on such a high-profile project: “I spent a day with [Michael Jackson], and we went through about 4,000 slides. He has a strong idea of what he wants in the book.” You couldn’t rely on the same degree of involvement for all the acts, Gorman tells us. “There are strange situations," he says. "Sometimes you don’t like a lot of the work and all of it rests on the approval of one...band member’s girlfriend.”

Despite the secondary market potential for a vintage Sugarcubes tee, Winterland is now defunct. The company declared bankruptcy twice despite $105 million in sales in 1996. The Brockum Group is dunzo, too: The company was bought out and eventually dissolved by BMG.

+ WATCH ROCK N' ROLL MERCHANDISING


MUSIC AND FASHION: JEAN PAUL GAULTIER’S SHORT-LIVED MUSIC CAREER

jean paul gaultier how to do that

Jean Paul Gaultier's music video, "How To Do That" in 1989.
Photo: MTV

At the end of this episode, we’re treated to a music video by French designer and “enfant terrible” Jean Paul Gaultier. His dance single, “How To Do That,” was released in 1989 on Fontana Records. It was then remixed as “Aow Tou Dou Zat” (amazing), which was subsequently released on Mercury. The video was directed by esteemed fashion photographer and videographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who famously directed Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” and would go on to direct “Manchild” by Neneh Cherry, “Justify My Love” by Madonna and Björk’s “Violently Happy.” There’s really not much else to say beyond “gold thimble manicure,” “CLASSIC JPG cage dress,” “curlicue 3D braids” and “cigarettes galore,” because you should just get into the images. For those interested in seeing the whole thing (and have the time and funds to travel), check out the extensive and incredible JPG exhibition in San Francisco's de Young museum where they have this jam playing on a loop. It will melt your face straight off. Just, you know, do it before August 29.

+ WATCH JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: "HOW TO DO THAT"


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 2

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claudia schiffer

Model Claudia Schiffer in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 2 Episode: 3
Title: Spring '90
Original Airdate: 2/17/90
Appearances: Claudia Schiffer, Giorgio Armani, Pam Hogg

RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: CLAUDIA SCHIFFER

claudia schiffer

Model Claudia Schiffer at the French 'Vogue' shoot in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Looking into the 19-year-old face of Claudia Schiffer is a weird experience. Especially when you consider that we meet her, in this segment, before she becomes a megastar and a major player in the supermodel industrial complex. Cindy even refers to her as the “Guess Jeans girl,” and the qualifier seems crazy since it’s been three decades, countless magazines, myriad billboards and miles of catwalk since this unknown from Dusseldorf starred in a black-and-white advertising campaign shot in Tennessee by the model-turned-photographer Ellen Von Unwerth.

This moment, captured in Paris during a French Vogue shoot, is right at the point when Schiffer’s been "chosen" (cue harp strumming and singing cherubs) by The Editors and The Photographers, but before she’s become a household name. It also makes one realize how infrequently we hear Claudia speak. It's not disappointing or incongruous at all (it's horribly jarring when that happens [see: David Beckham]). Turns out, she has a pleasant voice and a lilting German accent.

We see the Guess campaign shots: Claudia is the spit-and-image of Brigitte Bardot, except that she wears high-waisted faded blue jeans (mom jeans or irono hipster-lady jeans by contemporary standards). In March 2012, Guess re-released some of the original images to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the last of Claudia’s six campaigns. The iconic photos are presented alongside a new series shot in Italy and it's clear that Claudia lacks the decency to age like a regular human. You can’t really tell the difference because the appalling woman remains as taut and fresh-faced as ever.

In fact, Schiffer may have improved over the years. She confesses how nervous she was to walk for Chanel (her turns featured a cute, veering/speedy finish). She spins, bounces and smiles sheepishly. Even with the benefit of hindsight bias, it’s unsurprising that Claudia remains famous so many years later. It’s amusing, also, that Cindy’s voice-over speculates as to the new girl's staying power, musing about where she’ll be in ten years. “Married or going to school,” Claudia responds. “Have kids or something like that. What everybody does.” Ooooooooor there is always the option of becoming spectacularly famous.

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: GIORGIO ARMANI CREATES THE EMPORIO ARMANI DIFFUSION LINE

giorgio armani

Designer Giorgio Armani on his new line Emporio Armani in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Giorgio Armani has always known exactly what he was doing. He has also always worn a tight black T-shirt in interviews. There’s something about the translator, and about the look of Mr. Armani’s face as a younger man, that make the interview feel a bit distant, especially since it sounds like he’s relaying schemes of world domination. Thing is, you can’t help but respect the Giorgio Armani brand for their diffusion strategy. Were you to chart the differences between Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, Armani Collezioni (white label) and Giorgio Armani (black label), you’ll see the entire low-high spectrum, most notably how each level caters to different, specific customers across all ages and price-points. Don't know about you, but this stuff really blows my skirt up.

In this segment, Mr. Armani discusses the recent launch of Emporio Armani (150 stores worldwide, with one in Manhattan at the time) and how it was created to be less expensive and youth-oriented. The runway footage selected to support this notion of a younger line rings sorta hilarious in 2012, since in 1990, most people, regardless of age, dressed like a 35-year-old tycoon. There are incredible double-breasted blazers that are streamlined due to their narrow lapels, with low-slung plackets and prints. The key here is the addition of logo tees and underwear, which was fantastically on-point for kids since this was a time when conspicuous aspirational branding was HUGE within youth culture. (Hello Calvin Klein).

It’s also genius that Armani discusses jeans, since it was a notable statement for anyone to send denim down the runway in Europe. Armani pushes the envelope further by showing a topless model. “I wanted the jeans to be the focus,” he says. “I like to entice and tease my customers with different variation on jeans, like how the kids on the streets personalize theirs. American youth has a great sense of style.” The man knows exactly to whom he was talking. Armani further differentiates Emporio from his other collections by pointedly steering clear of big-name girls:“I never use supergirls in my Emporio shows. The clothes should be the star… not the models.”

+ WATCH THE START OF EMPORIO ARMANI


STREET STYLE: LONDON

pam hogg london

Designer Pam Hogg in 1990.
Photo: MTV

We weren’t able to clear this segment due to music clearance issues, but I thought I’d touch upon it, since it features a rare interview (OK, more like three quotes) with Pam Hogg. And yes, I just really wanted the chance to talk about her because she rules and people should know about her. For the uninitiated, Pam Hogg is legendary on the London street style scene: look up her store, Hyper Hyper. Since 1990, she’s dressed Rihanna, Lily Allen, Siouxsie Sioux, Kylie Minogue, Jessie J, and Kate Moss, the last of whom wore a Hogg dress to last year’s NME awards. Hogg’s totally badass and has achieved full-fledged cult status in England; she’s also a director, screenwriter, actress and musician.

In this segment, Hogg’s in her store, rocking blonde dreadlocks; a floppy, furry animal-print hat; and a studded leather jacket with enormous, exaggerated lapels, AND THICK CHAIN FRINGE (suuuuuch a good idea, someone steal this and mass produce it right now [please don't talk to me about Balmain because I said "THICK" chain fringe and "mass produce"]); a ring tee; and a bunch of mixed silver and gold rings, with crucifixes dangling from her neck. Hogg offers this sage style advice: “It’s the attitude in who’s wearing the thing. I mean, some people can wear flares and look absolutely ridiculous, and other people know why they’re wearing them and they’ll last forever. It’s not a case of one thing is in and one thing is out…If you’re sensible and know the way you can actually dress, you can wear anything.” Preach.

The interview is interspersed with man-on-the-street interviews of kids running around Kings Cross and Camden Market. It’s notable for the style time capsule because we’re seeing flared, light blue jeans, hoodies, hats, MCM monogram, motorcycle jackets, overalls, oversized denim jackets, Dr. Martens and a Boy London T-shirt. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same stuff you’ve been seeing a resurgence of this year. Seriously, Boy London is EVERYWHERE right now (see: Rihanna photos and logo leggings at Patricia Field with T-shirts at The Cobrasnake store). Aaaaaaaand, speaking of Boy London, you should probably know that Boy London isn't '90s but a throwback to the 1970s, when Stephane Raynor first founded the fashion label for the punks and new romantics of the day. Much of the style feels surprisingly fresh. The hot-guy salesman in a skull scarf (classic Alexander McQueen much?) and a Native American patterned poncho would look divine on New York streets today. And by "today" I mean later this year since it is unseasonably hot this summer. Something, something global warming frowny face.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 3

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cindy crawford linda evangelista

Cindy Crawford interviews model Linda Evangelista backstage at the Giorgio di Sant' Angelo show in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Season: 2 Episode: 4
Title: Summer '90
Original Airdate: 5/19/90
Appearances: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Veronica Webb, Franco Moschino

DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: BACKSTAGE AT MARTIN PRICE'S FIRST SHOW FOR GIORGIO DI SANT' ANGELO

There’s a lot going on backstage at this Martin Price show and even more that you don't see (don't worry, we'll get to it). It’s nearing the end of Fashion Week in New York, and you can register fatigue on the models’ faces. This is one of the segments where you get a real appreciation for Cindy’s access, not only as a model walking in the show but as a member of the supermodel clique. Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Yasmin LeBon and Veronica Webb are all backstage applying their own eye makeup or getting their hair done and it’s hectic. This is Cindy’s 20th show of the week. Linda has just returned from Milan Fashion Week, having “skipped Paris,” but she and Cindy discuss 12-hour days with six shows a day, which is a challenge, since Yasmin has recently had a baby. (LeBon maintains, however, that she’s “regressing,” despite Cindy’s comment that they’re not the kids anymore. Respect.) Cindy interviews the hair stylist about how many models he has to style for each show. He says it’s around 25 or 30.

It’s an inside look into Fashion Week for those curious about the industry, but it’s during a time when supermodels were becoming so famous that their lives influenced pop culture. You can’t help wondering whether something this “insidery” would’ve been interesting to the MTV audience prior to the supermodel phenomenon.

For fash-nerds who want to go deeper, there’s another layer to this particular show that you’re not immediately privy to. Martin Price is a designer who now teaches at Parsons, but he apprenticed under Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, who was also his partner. Giorgio passed in August 1989 of lung cancer. This collection the following year, was only the second since Giorgio’s death, with Martin at the helm designing under his name. In two more years, Martin would sell the trademark because the process became “too emotional.” He would donate the entire archive of clothing and accessories to the Met.

There’s a fantastic 2010 Q&A in Dazed and Confused written by Al Mulhall in which Martin talks about Giorgio, and though in this segment the clothes are very much secondary to the infamous women wearing them, I wanted to share a couple of quotes from Martin on Giorgio’s design philosophy, because it contextualizes the silhouettes.

"Giorgio was in tune with globalization and multiculturalism long before they became buzzwords… his aim was to really free women from the stiff, structured mod or futuristic shapes that were popular at the time. Giorgio liked to refer to these dresses as ‘boxes with zippers up the back,’ which always made us laugh. He wanted to empower women, and that’s why he referenced Greek goddesses.”

“I feel like that his brilliant use of stretch fabrics, along with wrapping and tying the female form with fabrics to simulate clothes, is his greatest mark.”

With this in mind, Martin’s collection of diaphanous cowls, impeccably draped sheaths, cross-back dresses and toga-reminiscent bathing suits is a lovely homage. At one point as Cindy’s running out, she remarks, “I knew I didn’t do it right,” as she unties a complicated sash. Needless to say, despite the snafu she looks very much a goddess.

+ WATCH BACKSTAGE AT GIORGIO DI SANT' ANGELO


DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: FRANCO MOSCHINO HATES THE GAME

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Designer Franco Moschino in 1990.
Photo: MTV

I love Moschino so much. Not only because I love the logo for its gloriously ’80s-’90s feel, but because Franco Moschino is a maniac. He's also brilliant in a way that makes me desperately wish he was still alive so we could see the entire arc of his vision over many decades. In this clip, we’ve settled on an angle and a black-and-white tile that make the interview look like it was shot in a bordello rave. Franco says things like “The challenge of being a fashion designer today doesn’t have any meaning. They call me this because it’s the only adjective they can put on my shoulders, but I’m not.” Also, “I should be ashamed of being a fashion designer today because the wrongest thing to do is to design new clothes.”

He argues that the cyclical aspect of fashion is formulaic, tedious and ridiculous. “I am very boring, as you see. I am using the same clothing, same styles, same music, the same models… The only thing that makes everything new and actualizes everything is how you put them together.” It’s this stank attitude, and his humorous, surrealist touches that make his clothes so unmistakably Moschino. Though he died in 1994 of a heart attack, that DNA has been faithfully preserved by the House of Moschino. In this FW 1990 collection, you'll see the boxy suits that were ubiquitous at the time, but his drip with gold sequins and feature bras in place of blouses. Moschino's "black suit with contrasting border" is rendered in leather with giant silver paillettes for a '70s disco first lady effect. There are miles of chains draped on every model’s hips; there’s even a classic black trousers/white blouse look that’s been remixed with a string bikini top made of pearls. Massive embroidered and embellished shoulders make suit jackets resemble armor, except that the sleeves are tiny and dainty in length. Moschino's sense of proportion is outrageous and if you're into that sort of thing, it's exciting to behold.

There are commedia dell’arte caricatures in ruffs and gold lamé onesies battling each other. Style tropes are brazenly cross-pollinated like a sailor suit exaggerated to cartoonish, infantilizing levels, coupled with blue trousers that feature white, fluffy cloud patch pockets and a cloud belt. Moschino even played with the cow motif, declaring that he was envious of them because they’re always so relaxed. The print was intended to symbolize fashion people, skewering them for the complacently bovine manner with which they pursued trends. “I’m telling them that they are stupid if they buy too many clothes," says Moschino. "And you know what is the reaction? They buy more.”

The hostility is a riot. Especially when you imagine its reception in the buttoned-up fashion landscape of Europe in 1990.

+ WATCH FRANCO MOSCHINO


STREET STYLE: HARAJUKU

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Street style in the Harajuku section of Tokyo in 1990.
Photo: MTV

Unfortunately, we don’t have video for this segment, because of a medley of unrecognizable music that we couldn’t clear but I wanted to grab as many stills as possible as House of Style visits the Harajuku shopping district years before Gwen Stefani would popularize it. There are a slew of club collars, summer braids and nods to private school uniforms, and we’re introduced to Hitomi Okawa, the designer behind the Toyko brands Milk, Milk Boy and Obscure Desire of the Bourgeoisie. Okawa is dressed like some color-blocked jockey. Her stores are incredible. To give you a bit of back story, Milk opened in 1970 and was the first store to carry Comme des Garçons.

For more information on what kind of stuff Milk sold in 1990, look no further than a sleeveless, polo midi-dress with snap buttons fabricated IN RUBBER that I would kill for as a shrunken varsity jacket (can you imagine?). We then get a sampling of wares from other Japanese designers like A Rose is Rose’s Kiyoko Kiga: high-waisted denim RUFFLE shorts with quarter-sized grommets; fascinating textures in monochrome dressing; safari jackets; gonzo rattan hats; and floral, printed thigh-high stockings that tweens, teens, and grown-ass adults would kill for this year. Kiga may not be a recognizable name, but fans of America’s Next Top Model may recall that he was a guest judge on Season 3.

We then interview Hiromichi Nakano, who still designs the line Hiromichi by Hiromichi Nakano. His SS 2012 featured oversized silhouettes in garments either in black, white, black-and-white or steeped in shocking color. Looking at Nakano’s 1990 runway is bonkers because it features a silver cone bra that is very Jean Paul Gaultier circa Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour, and I cannot for the life of me untangle who predates whom. Nakano is also responsible for white, pleated, illusion baby doll dresses and girly printed, pleated, sister/wife dresses with a high-low hem that would look at home in Opening Ceremony and on the back of Chloë Sevigny right this second.

“If I had to describe it in a few words, it’s like trying to destroy the Japanese conservativeness that’s been around for so long,” says Nakano of his design philosophy. “I really like the fashion of the U.S. For example, the main fashion recently that I like is what Spike Lee was wearing in Do The Right Thing." Basically, bright shorts over black bike shorts, and throwback Dodgers jerseys. Timeless.

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