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kate moss

Model Kate Moss in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 19
Title: Winter Edition
Original Airdate: 1/21/93
Appearances: Kate Moss, Todd Oldham


Kate Moss’s arrival on the scene marks the fashion industry’s response to the grunge movement that dominated youth culture and music at the time. The doe-eyed British waif was notable not only because she was antithetical to the buxom, bodacious, big-haired glamour of the supermodels who came before, but because she stood at just 5’6”—a height that was widely considered undesirable in her line of work. The notable thing about Kate (and, of course, the passage of time and her relevance throughout the next decades would prove as much) is that she did not pave the way for a generation of shorter girls: Kate Moss was the exception and an outlier. Another effect of her stature within the industry is that she couldn’t typically be shot for campaigns and fashion editorial flanked by a pack of other girls. In any iconic “here are all the supermodels” round-up shot by Steven Meisel or the like, Moss would look odd, and was therefore frequently shot by herself, which only contributed to her air of vulnerability and her persona as a loner. The CK One group shot ads are obviously the exception, though it should be considered how stark the campaign is and how much the other models featured therein are similarly waifish and un-modelly.

Some argue that Kate Moss does not qualify as a supermodel (and the debate as to who coined the phrase and whether it stretches back far enough to include Lauren Hutton, or extends forward to members of later generations, like Gisele Bündchen still rages) but if you define the term based on money earned, status achieved, and impact, Kate absolutely qualifies. Her ascension represents a critical turning point and redefined ’90s beauty. She is the line between grunge and glamour. In this introductory segment, Kate smiles goofily, talks about how her shoulders are her best feature and how she didn’t get to hang out with Mark Wahlberg during the CK jeans shoot because his "posse" was there the entire time. She is also one of the few fledgling models who does not seem intimidated by any other models, established or otherwise.



todd oldham thrift store

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham goes thrift store shopping in 1993.
Photo: MTV

As with the furniture in the earlier installment, Todd’s attitude is irreverent and inventive toward the clothes he thinks teens should be wearing. It’s reassuring once again that a world-renowned designer is giving kids the greenlight to shun brands and expensive gear; at one point, Todd even says that thrift-store finds could be considered analogous to couture because time has guaranteed that they’re one-of-a-kind. Todd suggests starting in the department that is your favorite, and looking for signs like empty hangers to see what others have “stashed” on the floor directly underneath. For the ladies, he suggests shopping in the men’s and little boys’ department and advises dudes to “paper bag” their pants and opt for a much larger waist size than they’d typically wear. A quick tutorial on “how to layer,” and why you shouldn’t be afraid to buy suits and discard the undesirable top or bottom ends the segment—but not before Todd instructs us to do our own alterations: Nobody cares if you screw up your own inexpensive stuff.



runway chanel

Highlights from the Spring 1993 runway shows.
Photo: MTV

The ’70s look is still going strong, with platforms, wedges, berets, crochet dusters, bell bottoms and hot pants. But there's a notable migration into grunge with beanies, loose jackets, Dr. Martens boots, teeny-tiny eyebrows and stripes aplenty. There is slouchy sleepwear at Perry Ellis by Marc Jacobs (SUCH A PIVOTAL COLLECTION!!!), straggly lank hair at Calvin Klein. Millinery is all over the place from gigantic velvet “Blossom” hats to a straw pith helmet contraption at Byron Lars that is highly evocative of the black “Darth Vader” visor shown for 2012 by Nicolas Ghesqueire for Balenciaga that retailed for a cool $3,000. Details, people, details.




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todd oldham

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham makes charitable Valentine's Day gifts in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 20
Title: Romance Edition
Original Airdate: 2/11/93
Appearances: Todd Oldham, Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Christian Slater, Naomi Campbell, Lucie de la Falaise, Kristen McMenamy, Anna Sui, Veronica Webb, Kevin Nealon


Todd Oldham wasn’t just about arts and crafts and baggy trousers; the designer was passionate about promoting a message. In this Valentine’s Day segment, he instructs us to make mixtapes and beaded flowers for our friends and loved ones—but not before giving love to his favorite charity, Paws and Powers, which helps homebound people with AIDS to keep and care for their pets. He makes a point of namedropping artist Patrick O’Connell for creating the iconic AIDS red ribbon, and advises us not to let a day go by without "honoring our sweethearts with AIDS." It’s a beautiful moment in a feature that could have skewed perfunctory and commercial and yet another reminder to MTV viewers to think of the thousands who died of the virus each year nationwide.



naomi campbell

Model Naomi Campbell shares her first kiss story in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum [who was dating Winona Ryder at the time]), Rosie Perez, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Christian Slater, Richand and Chris Robinson (the Black Crowes), Naomi Campbell, Lucie de la Falaise, Kristen McMenamy, Anna Sui, Veronica Webb and actor Kevin Nealon talk about how awkward, uncomfortable and awesome their first kisses were. "I accidentally kissed a girl in the eye," remembers Nealon. "I think she got a stye after that."



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naomi campbell

Model Naomi Campbell in her hotel room at Milan Fashion Week in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 21
Title: Best Of Edition
Original Airdate: 3/10/93
Includes segments from:

  • Todd Oldham Refurbishes On A Budget (Episode 16)

  • Eating Disorders (Episode 16)

  • Hanging Out With Naomi Campbell During Fashion Week (Episode 18)

  • Kate Moss Profile (Episode 19)

  • Spring '93 Runway Wrap-Up (Episode 19)

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eve salvail

Bald model Eve Salvail in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 22
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 5/12/93
Appearances: Eve Salvail, Todd Oldham


If you’re unfamiliar with the name Eve Salvail, then perhaps you’ll remember her as that one model with the dragon tattoo on her shaved head. (The original girl with a dragon tattoo, so to speak.) Eve was living in a tiny, rural town in Mantane, Quebec when she was discovered at age 18 and brought into the high-fashion scene by Jean Paul Gaultier. In this segment, Eve plays up her goth appeal in a giant, white, poet blouse and countless candles, and speaks in French or heavily-accented English about her passion for art: “Instead of killing people, I draw.” Cool. She obviously enjoys her macabre appearance, often treating coats and cardigans like capes on the runway. Gaultier admires the duality of her beauty, describing it as a mix of romantic and violent, and there is definitely something arresting about Eve’s bald head atop a bright Chanel suit, just as it is transfixing to watch her features soften when she’s wearing the oversized, menswear-inspired fashions of the early ’90s. It’s this unique quality that makes Eve fantastic for music videos and stylized movies. As such, you’ll find her brandishing her teeth frequently as a Nosferatu-ish vampire in the video for Lenny Kravitz’s “Is There Any Love In Your Heart,” and bit parts in The Fifth Element and Zoolander. Eve had been growing her hair out to a platinum buzzcut for several years following her retirement from modeling, but she returned to the runway—complete with a shaved head and exposed tattoo—for Jean Paul Gaultier’s 2011/2012 Couture show, and for his Fall/Winter 2011/2012 Ready-To-Wear collection.



todd oldham

Designer and 'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham gives swimsuit pointers at an 'ELLE' magazine photo shoot in 1993.
Photo: MTV

At Liberace’s house (LOL), Todd Oldham styles a swimsuit shoot for ELLEmagazine, and while the editorial features, lean, leggy ladies with outrageous, brightly-colored wigs, Todd takes the time to advise us regular girls on how to buy a flattering swimsuit. He also shares little styling tricks for taking better photos, like taping girls’ boobs together and clamping suits in for a tighter fit; his demeanor on-set is just as casual and personable as in his thrifting segments. Todd highlights the difference between a fashion shoot and real life while picking out details like halter straps for a bustier girl, or selecting a high-cut leg to elongate and slenderize the thigh. He even gets silly remarking on whether or not he accidentally spat onto the camera lens, and humanizes models by drawing attention to foam cutlets that pad their physiques. One model mentions how much she dislikes her back, due to a birth mark which Todd promptly calls shapely and cute. Todd informs us that having to try on 30-40 suits before finding the right one is absolutely normal; that we should be patient and kind to ourselves; and that it’s a hot attitude that makes one look fierce in a swimsuit. It’s another PSA with a light touch, courtesy of the wonderful Todd Oldham.




Puma Clydes (as popularized by the Beastie Boys) were one of the coolest shoes for summer in 1993.
Photo: MTV

What’s in for the summer of ’93? Everything from gingham kitten-heel mules to platform sneakers. There’s a huge emphasis on Puma Clydes (as popularized by the Beastie Boys, as well as student platform clog heels that are very much back in style over 20 years later.



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duran duran

Cindy Crawford shops at Sears with Simon LeBon of Duran Duran in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 23
Title: Summer Edition
Original Airdate: 6/13/93
Appearances: Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Spike Jonze, Björk


There are few opportunities to inject humor into fashion, but hauling Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon, via stretch limousine, to Sears for a day of shopping certainly lends itself to some. Cindy and the lads let loose, cherry-picking things they like or find amusing: while Simon hones in on a slinky scarlet shirt and a pair of fitted shorts, Nick opts for the ridiculous, picking up an entire rack of clip-on ties to snap onto a T-shirt-and-cotton-trousers combo, making for one of the more expensive ensembles of the day (since each tie costs ten bucks a pop). The three then waltz into the ladies’ department, where Simon and Nick try on white, tiered, lacy, tea-length dresses—with beautiful results. Then, all three climb into “Zip And Dash” frocks—patterned, decidedly flammable-looking house dresses, with enormous frilly white contrast collars, which make the perfect garment for the haus frau on-the-go. The boys dress Cindy up in a mesh cropped baby tee, take a moment to read the Sears catalogue and then prance off into their sleek black car, loaded with Sears bags that I hope were just props, and not filled with thirty-odd clip-on ties that will likely go to waste. It’s a bit of fun and all around excellent television with zero service elements.



dirt magazine

Mark Lewman, Spike Jonze and Andy Jenkins of 'Dirt' magazine in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Launched as a preview issue in September 1991 and packaged as the brother-publication to Sassy magazine, Dirt was a guy’s magazine that featured an editorial and art staff of people who cut their teeth at the Beastie Boys’ magazine, Grand Royal. Spike Jonze, who directed the Beasties’ "Sabotage” video and has since directed countless music videos and an Oscar-winning feature-length film (2002’s Adaptation), was Dirt’s photographer. In this segment, we take a tour of an unorthodox approach to the fashion editorial. This is nothing like being on-set at American Vogue, with couture and supermodels; instead, we find ourselves in a “fashion van” containing racks of sportswear. Spike quips that this is the first time they knew to bring hangers, and that they usually just tote a box of clothes. The cavalier attitude towards fashion is unsurprising, but the Dirt guys are keenly focused on what they’re trying to achieve for their very specific readership. Their fashion pages typically include an introduction to a new sport, like freestyle bike riders somersaulting over a ramp with a sidebar of fashion credits. Fashion is the advertising Trojan horse so that the Dirt staffers can shed light on “guys who deserve some attention”; their pulls of striped tees, shorts and button-down shirts look casual, but the care and attention paid to slouching socks just so speaks to an understanding of how to style clothes in original ways that signal what type of subculture their readers belong to. We tag along on a story shot in a synagogue, all about “well-dressed ninjas” and “karate shopping,” and want to date every single guy on set. Everyone is adorable.



grateful dead

Hippie style of The Grateful Dead fans at a concert in 1993.
Photo: MTV

In 1992 and 1993, high fashion borrowed multiple elements from the hippie. But haute couture “flower power” and thousand-dollar clogs are light-years away from the modern-day hippies and deadheads we interview here. For this segment, we tailgate with the tie-dye-wearing, Birkenstock-enamored fans of The Grateful Dead for a show at Giants Stadium in the summer of 1993. There are legions of people wearing pale shredded jean shorts, flannels, maxi skirts and crystals; they’re making vats of chili, selling feathered dreamcatchers, wringing out freshly dyed tees or dancing. They’ve flooded the parking lot with their boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters and moms in tow, and tout the inclusive philosophy behind their marauding lifestyle. To wit: “This is a beautiful place, and not because we’re wearing funny clothes but because we love each other.” The quintessential outfit is all about comfort—light cotton is heavily featured, with layers that can be removed according to changes in climate, and it’s wonderful that House of Style talked to a crew of people whose style had been appropriated and heavily remixed by the fashion elite. Especially since they’re all such good-natured nerds and outcasts, and we do not once make fun of them. However difficult that might have been.




Singer Björk talks self-expression and style in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Can you believe there was a time when Björk had yet to release her gorgeous solo album, Debut? That there was ever a world before "Human Behaviour" and "Venus as a Boy" and "Violently Happy"? Insane. In this segment we cut to a quick montage of the impish Icelandic musician wearing everything from skintight metallic minidresses to enormous Princess Leia buns. Her brows are characteristically unkempt, and she speaks in her now famous lilting, breathy tones. We couldn’t clear the video because of the music, but we find Björk sitting on a white bed against a black wall at the Paramount Hotel in New York City. Without ever looking at the camera, Björk plays with a single red rose through four costume changes. There is a long-sleeved mohair, maxi dress; a patchwork tweed skirt with gigantic wood-heeled 8-hole black boots; a short A-line dress made of white fluff; and a long-sleeved, V-neck minidress made of a blue-and-white patterned blanket. Björk looks like a kid holed up in her room, and frequently hugs a pillow when she’s saying something particularly daring, like how those who are too reliant on others for fashion are losers.

On expressing herself through style:

“I make music. That’s quite a big-time way of expressing yourself. I think that even a more important way of expressing yourself is the way you dress. I can’t really analyze why I wear the clothes I wear. It’s hard to explain things, you just like it. You just like it, like it, like it.”

On the blanket dress:

“I found this blanket in a market and I really liked it and I kind of wanted to wear it. So I kind of changed it into a dress, I guess.”

On the white furry shift dress:

“I like it. I’m not sure why it’s like it is. I like white furry things. Right now I’m very much into polar bears. And I seem to have created an obsession with white lately. You know, I think maybe it’s something to do with because it’s like a blank page, you know? It’s like a fresh start.”

On making your own clothes:

“If you know what you want and you don’t go out and make it yourself, you’re basically a loser, you know? You shouldn’t rely too much on other people.”


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Supermodels Beverly Johnson, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton gather for "A Model Conversation" in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 24
Title: A Model Conversation
Original Airdate: 7/93
Appearances: Beverly Johnson, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Lauren Hutton


In many ways, this one-hour special acts as a State of the Union for the modeling industry in 1993. It’s a roundtable discussion between two generations of models, and features Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Beverly Johnson, Lauren Hutton, and Linda Evangelista, along with short interviews with modeling agents like Bethann Hardison and Monique Pillard, and editors like Anna Wintour and Gabé Doppelt. The supermodels talk about their careers, how each got her start and the taxing aspects of their jobs. They break down the politics of becoming a successful model and assert that it’s largely based on relationships with photographers and magazines. It’s an interesting time to be discussing the shifting ideals of beauty: The supermodels were still very much in the forefront of the fashion industry, but their influence was beginning to wane in light of the waifish, gamine look embodied by newcomer Kate Moss.

On starting out:
The models take turns describing how they were discovered: Cindy met a local photographer in Chicago; Christy posed for a portrait when she was on the competitive horseback riding circuit(!); Linda competed in a Miss Niagara pageant that a scout attended; Naomi was playing hooky from school with a group of blonde, blue-eyed friends when an agent approached her. Beverly had visions of becoming a lawyer and Lauren Hutton got noticed the hard way—hitting the pavement for 7-9 months before she got her start. Linda mentions that she used to get paid $20 for modeling in bridal shows (she always played bridesmaid) and $8 an hour for local department store ads. Long before America’s Next Top Model, we learn the term “go see” (what it’s called when models hit up agencies, editors and photographers with a book of their photos) and Cindy mentions how humbling the process can be.


On being objectified:
The models talk about how frequently they’re mistreated. They’ve been on multiple shoots and sets where they’re often referred to as “it” and directed as if they’re not even in the room. In fact, when Cindy asks if her assembled peers have been objectified, Lauren scoffs, “Are you kidding?” Naomi talks about a time when, at age 16, she was felt up by a stylist for a Japanese client. Cindy recounts the time she asked to be let out of a steam bath; her protests went unheeded until she passed out.


On modeling contracts:
At the start of her career, Christy landed a major contract as the face of Calvin Klein, so she knows how and why it can be a mistake to take a contract too early. Beverly talks about how exclusivity to one client and aligning with one campaign can make a girl seem to lose access from other aspects of the business. The most salient point comes from Cindy, who readily admits how envious other models were when Christy landed her Calvin Klein contract. Cindy’s frank in acknowledging the pros and cons of any career decision, but you can tell from the exchange that it’s the first time Cindy admitted her jealousy to Christy in person, and it’s a revelation.


On degrading photos:
Cindy talks about the difference between choosing to participate in a sexy shoot now that she’s older, versus being manipulated into taking her top off for Elle magazine at 16 and having her parents and high school friends find out. She talks about how feminism doesn’t preclude steamier shoots, but that it’s about feeling empowered enough to choose.


On relationships with photographers:
It’s obvious that a good rapport and a level of comfort with a photographer makes for a more positive working experience, but Beverly notes that it’s the entire vibe on set — from the makeup to the hair — that’s key: A good shoot is a team effort. Beverly also talks about the back-and-forth that comes naturally when you’re working with a photographer you trust. She discusses being “turned on,” and you’re reminded again of how much the end result is reliant not just upon the model’s face, body language, and the photographer’s technical skill, but chemistry. It's that attraction that leads to truly transcendent photographs.


On eating and traveling:
For all the well-intentioned segments that House of Style aired on eating disorders, and on the societal pressure to emulate a certain idea of beauty, there’s something tremendously powerful in hearing Beverly talk about her dysfunctional relationship with food. She doesn’t go into any gory details, but she sounds rueful and tired. Linda admits that she could eat anything she liked until she was 25, at which point she had to actively start watching her intake. But Cindy brings up an interesting point that people rarely consider apart from the weight question: the awkwardness of looking like you’re 25 despite being 16. Cindy says that looking like an adult and being made to look like an adult can be extremely unhealthy — people assume it's ok to offer you drugs or ask you to remove your clothes. There are men coming on to you, and it's not considered gross or unseemly.

Lauren quips that all models should be at least 30 years old before they start, and Naomi chimes in to say that she put a lot of pressure on herself to act mature because her mother had just had a baby when Naomi was 15 and starting out in the business.

Then each of the models discusses how lonely it can be to travel, despite the exciting cities they visit. Christy expresses how much she hates Paris. Naomi agrees that Paris can be brutal, because they don’t care whether you’ve worked 7 days in a row for 20 hours a day; she says she sometimes cracks up and cries because she works until she’s fried. Cindy admits that the money is a great incentive, and that she’s worked on shoots where the photographer and the clothes were awful and led to her doing division in her head to calculate how much money she’s making per second in order to make the experience worthwhile. Lauren then chides everyone who’s complaining about the long hours because being a model is a ridiculous, absurd, obscenely lucky job. It also becomes apparent that the savvier you are as a businesswoman, the better you are at controlling your career. Linda equates their work as a sort of commission taxed on the deals of multibillion-dollar conglomerates and Christy counters that their clients are not stupid and that they wouldn’t be making the sort of money were it not worth the companies’ while. Linda is clearly the one who wanted to be a model the most, and says simply that her job is a dream come true.


On ever-evolving standards of beauty:
The models talk about falling in and out of favor with photographers and magazines. They generally understand that this is a matter of course and seem nonplussed, but Naomi is visibly angry when the question of racism comes up. Without naming names, she says that certain magazine editors tell her, “You can’t be on the cover because you were on the cover three years ago and we can’t have another black model on the cover right now.” She also says she’s been told that an alarming number of times, and that she’s determined to change this thinking and behavior. She speaks of her gratitude toward Beverly and Iman for opening the door for younger black models, particularly the August 1974 issue of American Vogue, on which Beverly was the first African-American cover model.

Funnily enough Lauren Hutton played a part in Beverly’s historic Vogue cover. They were in Richard Avedon’s studio: Lauren had been called in for a cover try, saw Beverly and told Polly Mellen (legendary stylist and editor for a number of fashion magazines) to do a cover try with this “beautiful woman.” Lauren was also a pioneer in a manner of speaking: She refused to fix the gap in her teeth, which Cindy always admired (Georgia May Jagger and Lindsey Wixson also have Ms. Hutton to thank), since she was badgered to have her beauty spot removed from her face. Naomi confides that she’ll never remove the scar on her face. Lauren talks about how important their jobs can be to hold up different ideals of beauty, and then agrees that modeling in 10 hairpieces, after 5-hour makeup sessions, with taped boobs can be misleading.


On the fashion industry powers that be:
In this complementary segment, House of Style interviews the people who decide which girl is “it.” We speak to former model, now agent Bethann Hardison; agents Monique Pillard and Ann Veltri; editors Anna Wintour, Gabé Doppelt; and Polly Mellen; and photographer Sante D’Orazio. The industry insiders talk about that moment everything gels. The agent knows when he or she has met someone special, and sends her to meet editors. Those editors impatiently complain about why they’ve never met her before. That’s when the “go see” results in exposure in Mademoiselle (R.I.P.), Elle and Vogue, which in turn creates “miracles” seemingly overnight. American Vogue EIC Anna Wintour cautions viewers not to overestimate what Vogue can do (a notable and rare moment of candor about the limits of her power), explaining that the photographer often launches the career. Sante confirms this, and says there’s a moment behind the lens when you know that a model has never looked more beautiful, and that it’s often that instant or that point-of-view that clinches a model’s ascent. Anna also reminds us that, many times, a photographer can also end a career, noting the moment when Steven Meisel not only invented Naomi, Christy and Linda, but also decided when fashion needed new faces like Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta.



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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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duran duran

Cindy Crawford shops at Sears with Simon LeBon of Duran Duran in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 26
Title: Best Of Edition
Original Airdate: 9/15/93
Includes segments from:

  • Todd Oldham Goes Thrift Shopping (Episode 19)

  • Eve Salvail Model Profile (Episode 22)

  • Cindy Crawford Shops At Sears With Duran Duran (Episode 23)

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford and 'Harper's Bazaar' Fashion Editor Evyan Metzner at Paris Fashion Week in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 27
Title: Paris Edition
Original Airdate: 11/24/93
Appearances: Helena Christensen, Richard Gere, Christian LaCroix, Amber Valletta, John Galliano, Max Vadukul


If you ever wanted to see Cindy in a pantsuit, this would be the time. In this segment, Cindy attends Paris Fashion Week with Evyan Metzner, fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar. For the first show, Cindy shadows Evyan — who, during a typical fashion week, will attend 8-10 shows a day. Her schedule is an intricate grid that begins at 8:30 AM and often doesn’t end until 11 at night. Having previously learned what a typical fashion show at Paris costs and what it’s like backstage, this time we learn about the specific responsibilities of a fashion editor.

First of all, we learn all about the front row, and the unwritten politics of who gets to sit where. Remember, this too is way before the advent of the internet where the placement politics weren't common knowledge. We learn that well-connected editors, and buyers with large, important accounts, get to sit in front, along with celebrities and the models’ rock star husbands. Then, there’s the issue of a sketchbook. Long before the Instagram feeding frenzy and live-tweeted descriptions from every single attendee, you had to draw quick outlines so that you could remember trends as they developed over the week. A great example here is a shirt cropped so short that it reveals lower-boob cleavage (or “neathage,” as some of us call it). Cindy and Evyan go backstage to congratulate Christian Lacroix and conduct a quick interview.

For her second stint as fashion editor, Cindy goes solo, and we’re invited into her Parisian hotel bathroom to watch her get ready. It is here that we learn two important things: that there’s a travel blow dryer attachment that’s like one of those old-fashioned dryers that housewives from the ’50s would sit under to set their hair; and what Richard Gere looks like in a hotel robe. At one point, he even holds a boom mic. Cindy gets into another trouser suit, a choker, and lace-up boots, and this time Cindy mentions having felt a pang of envy at being on the other side of the runway, because Helena looked so beautiful walking down it.



Amber Valletta

Model Amber Valletta in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Kate Moss wasn’t the only model who signaled the arrival of a new era of beauty. Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta were a couple of the other “New Girls” anointed by the rainmaking photographers and editors. There was definitely a year in my childhood when Amber or Shalom or Amber and Shalom dominated most of the American Vogue covers. There’s a regal, expensive quality about Amber, like she was born in Monaco and attended regattas and races as a small child while learning 11 languages. Despite her bearing, Amber started out in Tulsa, Oklahoma at age 15; four years from the time of this interview. She mentions that she had to take a class when she started out, and that her walk was awful and ungainly. She was considered too awkward and too athletic in her modeling class, but it’s her boyish physique and innocent, wide-set eyes that made her an important face in the dreamy, grunge movement typified by Kate Moss.

Amber mentions being a peaceful person who prioritizes happiness; her humility doesn’t seem insincere, but it does seem somewhat practiced. Amber reads slightly media-trained in a way that neither the supermodels nor Kate Moss displayed, which also reminds us that the job of being a model has changed. This feels like the beginning of the trend when all models parroted the party line of having been an “ugly duckling” or a “tomboy” as a part of their origin mythology. This pre-packaged story and the distortion of the paparazzi lens would signal the beginning of the end of the candid interviews we’d previously enjoyed from the personalities involved in the modeling industry. At this point, MTV had ushered in the era of reality television with the first two seasons of The Real World. Non-actors became more aware of how they were being portrayed on camera and expected to have to talk about themselves. Unlike Cindy, for whom "having a voice" was a new experience, Amber anticipates interviews as part of the job of being a model and celebrity. You can feel this shift in the level of preparedness. Sadly, with this new type of access, we'd lose a lot of the authenticity. Basically, this person saying she's "peaceful" is the sound of a million publicists cashing checks.



todd oldham john galliano

'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham interviews designer John Galliano in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Todd hits Paris too, which blessedly means designer-on-designer interviews—a format, and a specific kind of chemistry, that we’ve yet to enjoy in the show. First off is Andre Walker, a downtown New York darling who held his first show at age 15 in a Brooklyn nightclub called Oasis. He worked with Willi Smith (the designer who famously created the gown Mary Jane Watson wore to marry Peter Parker in the 1987 Spiderman comic) after dropping out of high school. His fall 1993 showcase, entitled “Someone I’m In Love With Then,” is a mixture of surprisingly wearable cotton sportswear with off-kilter cuts and details.

The gathered and ballooned skirts are gorgeously cut, and despite zany stunts — like a dress called the “Nude Housewife,” with a back cut so low that it threatens to expose butt crack (and considering the bum cleavage made famous by Alexander McQueen, this is all excellent territory) — there’s an unmistakable calculation in the execution. Everything falls exactly as the designer intended. Andre says things like, “I knew [The Nude Housewife dress] was gross, but I had to take that risk. Tomorrow is gonna be grosser than today. ‘Go grosser’ is the motto of the season.” He also describes the silhouettes as “corny,” but the deliberately vague and distracting language does nothing to detract from the clothes or the fact that his flannel shirt is actually cut precisely to show an empire waist only from certain angles. Todd is smitten. Andre has since created a magazine called This Is What It Made Us Think About that’s sold exclusively in select boutiques. The first issue sold for $375. Another fashion tidbit that’s just as priceless? Andre worked closely with Marc Jacobs for a decade, until Marc fired him. Via text message. The two remain friends.

Despite the recent hullabaloo surrounding Galliano’s drunken rants and his subsequent displacement at Dior, in 1993, the designer was at the absolute peak of his career. There’s an elaborate fashion story behind this collection that follows an 1860s princess named Lucretia, who is banished while wearing enormous skirts and ringlet pigtails and shirts that are falling to pieces. She then somehow ends up in the Scottish highlands wearing jaunty, meticulously shrunken hats and hiked-up skirts because she’s met the “dotty duke” and “dotty duchess,” who ply her with gambling and gin. Of course, Lucretia then meets her prince and marries him, but this is like watching a porn with a backstory because the narrative does nothing other than to create a vehicle for the breathtaking breadth and depth of Galliano’s vision and talent.

Todd remarks how difficult it is to cut and sew pieces on the bias as Galliano does, and as difficult as it is to create volume for the 1860s period and then to hike it all up for the highlands, the real nut is how John Galliano creates everything at an angle. His slinky, silky, weightless dresses for the wedding scene are a miracle. And that he makes a see-through panel of scalloped edges in tissue-thin fabric, with pieces cut and sewn sideways to move and hug the topography of the female form, is unparalleled. Pun intended.



cindy crawford

Photographer Max Vadukul shoots Cindy Crawford for Italian 'Vogue' in 1993.
Photo: MTV

This could have been just another segment where we trail Cindy to the set of a magazine shoot, but this is about getting to see Max Vadukul’s unusual technique. Despite having worked multiple times with Max, the esteemed former staff photographer for The New Yorker, Cindy seems shy here. She clearly doesn’t know what to expect, and the editorial has Cindy completely stripped down, with unfussy, flattened hair and minimal makeup, so she seems particularly exposed.

Max — who is also known for shooting black-and-white Yohji Yamamoto ad campaigns — has a tiny mustache, circular glasses and a calm disposition. He takes complete advantage of Cindy’s rare vulnerability by asking her a series of disquieting questions to evoke new expressions. He asks how she’d feel if she discovered her husband in bed with another woman. He then asks her to leap and to show him her feet while closing way in to ask how she’d feel if she found out she was having triplets. There’s constant movement and you can tell that Cindy doesn’t quite know what she looks like. It’s refreshing to see her have to work for it. Because the questions and emotions require her to act, we see a new self-consciousness from our now familiar House of Style host, and a new facet of what it’s like on the set of this particular photographer’s shoot.



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todd oldham john galliano

'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham interviews designer John Galliano in 1993.
Photo: MTV

Season: 5 Episode: 28
Title: Best Of Edition
Original Airdate: 12/15/93
Includes segments from:

  • The Hippie Style Of Grateful Dead Fans (Episode 23)

  • Behind The Scenes Of The Dirt Magazine Photo Shoot (Episode 23)

  • Todd Oldham Interviews Designers Andre Walker And John Galliano (Episode 27)

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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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