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usher rebecca romijn

Rebecca Romijn talks about sex appeal with rapper Usher in 1998.
Photo: MTV

Season: 10 Episode: 64
Title: Who's The Bomb?
Original Airdate: 6/16/98
Appearances: Usher, James King

WHAT DOES USHER WEAR TO FEEL SEXY?

In this segment, Usher Raymond and Rebecca Romijn hang out on the roof of the Chateau Marmont to talk about what he wears to feel sexy. He is all of 19 years old, and the two flirt outrageously as he changes clothes three times. For those even slightly less obsessed with Usher than I am, this was a crazy time for the Dallas, Texas -born performer, it's right on the heels of the monstrous success of his 1997 sophomore release My Way. If you don't know, that was the album where Jermaine Dupri and Usher got together and started making warlock music that would destroy the Billboard charts for the next majillion years. It was also the year Usher debuted his acting chops in that Robert Rodriguez movie The Faculty, which starred everyone from Elijah Wood to Salma Hayek and Jon Stewart.

We first see Usher in a bright yellow sweatsuit unzipped to the navel; Clarks Wallies; shades; and diamonds. The suit is from Shabazz Brothers, the line created by the dude Big Daddy Kane would routinely shout out. This was the heyday of urban streetwear like Karl Kani, Phat Farm, Walker Wear by April Walker, Mecca, Maurice Malone, Pure Playaz and Enyce, and Usher’s warm-ups are emblematic of the aesthetic as it existed before sportswear focused on preppier, collegiate elements, and the “grown and sexy” vibe that you see in his video for the single “You Remind Me.” (That's the one where Usher wears massive, French cuff striped button-down shirts, sateen shirts and summer-weight suits so baggy they look like pajamas.)

Next is a short-sleeved, white logo button-down from Phat Farm, worn with a cotton tank and chinos. A do-rag and Cartier sunglasses finish off the look. What follows is the final ensemble: yet another Phat Farm top — this time a pique polo with an embroidered back — and baggy shorts. It’s notable that while Usher’s clothes became more fitted over the years, the general idea remains the same: a heavy reliance on dark tees, jeans and button downs.

STREET STYLE: JAMES KING ON WHO'S "THE BOMB"

james king

Model James King finds out what's sexy on the streets of New York in 1998.
Photo: MTV

That she had a boy’s name and was regularly seen on the downtown New York scene made James King (now Jamie) undeniably cool. She has an insouciance about her and even when designers put her in the skimpiest outfits, she always looked badass and confident. It's what makes her perfect for walking around NYC to decide who’s cool. This is 1998, mind you, so, hilariously enough, she’s actually going around deciding who’s “The Bomb” (cue Funkmaster Flex explosion sounds). LOLOLOLOLOL.

James is a master at plucking out bomb people. Her hair is loose, she’s barely wearing any makeup, and she’s in a black tank and boot-cut jeans that are split up the front to create the illusion of unzipped basketball track pants. It’s a particularly ’90s way of distressing jeans that you never see anymore but should.

James runs up on a guy and calls him over for being “sexy.” He’s wearing a massive Knicks starter jacket, loose jeans and a necklace. They talk a little about what they each find attractive, and she calls him out for dripping with good energy. They’re visibly taken with each other, but observe one other analytically. It’s like watching two cool people smell each other’s butts. Then the dude’s friend —who I swear is a young Amy Gunther in cornrows (that’s the model who started the iconic skate shop KCDC) — saunters over looking angelic in a white tank and simple skirt.

Next it’s off to the park, where we see a cute girl who epitomizes 1998 summer style in skintight pedal pushers, platform flip-flops and a head scarf. Then there’s another grouping of kids in summer dresses and tees. We even talk briefly to a dude in a ringer T-shirt and Air Maxes who attempts to holler at James. It’s hilarious how quickly she deflects him while addressing us about how easy it is for guys to be “The Bomb,” since so much of it relies on their attitude. It’s sorta like a Richard Attenborough voiceover on a nature show, and it’s great.

+ WATCH JAMES KING'S NEW YORK STREET STYLE

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 64

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victoria beckham

Victoria Adams of The Spice Girls gets ready to go out with sorority girls in 1998.
Photo: MTV

Season: 10 Episode: 65
Title: Ready, Set, Go Out
Original Airdate: 9/15/98
Appearances: Victoria Adams (The Spice Girls), James King

MUSIC AND FASHION: POSH SPICE GETS READY FOR A NIGHT OUT WITH SORORITY GIRLS

Way back when Victoria Beckham was still Victoria Adams, a.k.a. Posh Spice, House of Style sent the fanciest Spice Girl to extol the virtues of Girl Power to the ladies of Alpha Chi Omega at Cal State, Fullerton. She wears a simple black mini dress, strappy wedges and, well, Kate Gosselin hair. Posh follows the girls around their bedrooms gossiping about boys, makeup and clothes they like to wear when they go out (on this particular night the ladies are going to Club Status, since it's Thursday). It's odd but I almost get the feeling that they're not aware of how famous she is.

At one point there are a half dozen girls crammed in front of a bathroom mirror and Victoria is personable and sweet. The sorority girls love bebe, Guess and all wear black pants of varying length (pedal pushers make an appearance) and though they're all polite, they treat Posh like an alien when she mentions that her shoes are Dolce & Gabbana. They can't understand her at all and explain that they can't recognize the Italian label because of her British accent.

MUSIC AND FASHION: JAMES KING GETS READY WITH A BUNCH OF RAVERS

rave

James King gets ready to go out with ravers in 1998.
Photo: MTV

This is another segment that chronicles the thrill of getting ready for a night out and how three different subculture's rituals vary depending on the music they listen to. We're in NY and meet a bunch of swingers, salsa dancers and ravers. If Cindy was accessible and professional, James is cool and laid-back. She's immediately accepted into the inner sanctum while sitting in these wildly divergent homes and genuinely appreciates what's sartorially significant for each group.

She talks Manic Panic, making your own pants (I could write a manifesto on JNCOs, Kikwear, Auras, UFOs et. al.), Zoot Suits, and how all these considerations take movement and dancing into account. They go to The Supper Club (defunct), The Copacabana (word to Barry Manilow) and Mekka (defunct). We couldn't clear the footage due to one million notes of unidentifiable music that we couldn't license but if you go watch that classic GAP commercial where everyone swingdanced and do liquid with your hands whilst sucking on a pacifier attached to a candy necklace and dance the pachanga you'll be pretty close to the vibe. Or you can just look at our gallery.

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 65

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wutang-clan

Cappadonna and RZA of the WuTang-Clan go accessory shopping in 1998.
Photo: MTV

Season: 10 Episode: 66
Title: Getting Personal
Original Airdate: 12/14/98
Appearances: RZA and Cappadonna (The Wu-Tang Clan)

MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING WITH CAPPADONNA, RZA AND UGOD

In this special segment, we enjoy the company of correspondents UGOD, Cappadonna and RZA as they take us to their favorite stores. First of all, this makes me wish desperately that we'd enlisted members of Wu-Tang for a whole season, because they would've had the opportunity to “diversify bonds” like they instructed us to in that one priceless Dave Chappelle skit. We follow RZA (circa Bobby Digital, his method-rapping alter ego), UGOD and Cappadonna to their favorite shopping destinations. The constant running commentary is predictably incredible. Seriously, it sounds like a particularly disoriented skit in between tracks. Were there a podcast that simply followed RZA around to record what he thought about everything, I would subscribe. For money.

The three talk all over each other but seem to be in agreement for all things fashion-related. At Transit, Fair Isle hats are dismissed, and sunglasses are deemed “too analog for Bobby Digital.” I get it, Bobby Digital's on another level. You know this because he's wearing a Pelle Pelle logo sweater with a Pelle Pelle logo windbreaker on top. So thorough. We get a quick lesson in the proper way to stunt in ski goggles. The correct way, of course, is not to put them on your face but to hitch them on the top of your head like a crown. THE CROWN YOU DESERVE.

wutang-clan

Cappadonna and RZA of the WuTang-Clan go accessory shopping in 1998.
Photo: MTV

Then we head to Training Camp, a sneaker purveyor where the shoes are shrink wrapped. Here, we have the opportunity to peruse wine-colored Wallabies (merlollabies?), New Balances, Jordans and Pumas that “you used to get robbed and shot for.” The colors orange, green and purple are considered "digital."

Wu-Tang clan are undoubtedly trailblazers when it comes to fashion: To this day, they remain unique, refreshing and also very, very tall. Wu Wear Forever.

+ WATCH WU-TANG CLAN AT TRANSIT

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 66

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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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