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carolyn murphy

Model Carolyn Murphy on the runway in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 46
Title: January Edition
Original Airdate: 1/29/96
Appearances: Carolyn Murphy, Spacehog, Lauren Martinez and Anne Christensen ('Vogue')

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: CAROLYN MURPHY

This shouldn’t be taken as an invective against Carolyn Murphy’s character but this interview kinda bums me out. The model is extremely versatile, and both Joe Zee (then associate fashion editor at W) and makeup artist Laura Mercier mention in voiceovers that a large part of her magic is that you can do anything with her. They praise her look for essentially being a blank canvas. Carolyn Murphy is beautiful, and I like her hair and the throwback Prada spring 1996 suiting that she’s wearing here. I even like her print campaign from the season, as I do all of the ads she appeared in for Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Estee Lauder, Tiffany & Co., Calvin Klein and Max Mara over the years.

The issue is that I don't love her. Her face is hard to read. I believe that she was a tomboy as she recounts in our interview, but I don’t believe her older brother gives her swirlies on her visits home. The expectations for what models say in mainstream broadcast interviews are very much established at this point, and even though you feel Todd's warmth there’s nothing in this interview that feels special or revealing. I miss Naomi in zit cream talking about her future husband.

+ WATCH CAROLYN MURPHY


MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING WITH SPACEHOG

spacehog

Brothers Royston and Antony Langdon of Spacehog at Smilin' Nylon in New York City in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Most of what I know about Spacehog comes from Liv Tyler's five year-marriage to bass player and singer Royston Langdon. That said, this segment is charming. There isn’t too much of a service element, since it’s basically about a bunch of English dudes riffing on clothes they’re obviously not keen on wearing for real, but the camaraderie is entertaining, and we get to look at some great New York stores when W. 8th Street was a whole different story, before NYU set on it like a boa constrictor swallowing an egg. Here we have Antony Langdon, Jonny Cragg, the aforementioned Royston and Richard Steel at a now defunct store called Smiling Nylon and The Eye, an aptly named eyeglasses boutique. It is a romp through “very lurid,” gender-bendy, flammable clothing and bug-eyed sunglasses.

+ WATCH SPACEHOGS SHOPPING


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: RAIDING THE 'VOGUE' FASHION CLOSET

anne christensen lauren martinez

'Vogue' Fashion Editor Anne Christensen and Senior Market Editor Lauren Martinez in the 'Vogue' fashion closet in 1996.
Photo: MTV

OK, this is not the fashion closet of Ugly Betty’s Mode magazine. Nor is this the well-lit, rack-filled paradise in a fantasy Vogue that pays Carrie Bradshaw $5/word. This is the real-life Vogue closet (before such closet tours were everywhere on the internet and demanded that all your sneakers be color-coordinated in tidy cubbies… ahem, GQ) and the tour is conducted by the lovely Anne Christensen (presently the Executive Fashion Director at Glamour) and Lauren Martinez (who, in a particularly fashiony move would go on to marry a Dupont [of the textile magnate Duponts]). The lighting is suboptimal and there are moments when the room is reminiscent of a grandparent’s attic, but we do get a lovely look at the mixed prints, shrunken sweaters, dyed leathers and retro colors that were huge in spring 1996.

Speaking of grandparents’ attics, many of the clothes harken back to the browns, moss greens and burnt oranges of the polyester housedresses and retro kitchen appliances ubiquitous in previous decades, and it’s interesting to see how the runway shows of the year are celebrating clothes that look thrifted and are mismatched. Spring 1996 fashion in a nutshell? The ouroboros of a Vogue editor wearing a beautiful Prada coat that looks like it came from a charity shop advising us on how to thrift a similar look. Where is Todd Oldham when you need him?

+ WATCH THE 'VOGUE' CLOSET


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TOM FORD KILLS IT AT GUCCI

tom ford gucci

Model Linda Evangelista in Gucci by Tom Ford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

As a huge Madonna fan, I was absolutely blown away by how incredible she looked at the 1995 VMAs, when she rocked up to the stage in a satin turquoise Gucci blouse unbuttoned to reveal a sheer bra, and low-slung black trousers, with her blonde hair pouffed and pinned in a half pony. It was fashion magic. Tom Ford had been hired as the Creative Director for Gucci in 1994, and during his first several seasons, he was a beast who seemed to know exactly what type of sexiness we wanted from the then somewhat fusty Italian fashion brand and leather goods label.

Ford came out of the gate hard, channeling the enthusiasm for retro-chic with slightly belled sleeves on micro-mini dresses; sumptuous fabrics like satin and burnout velvet; and wickedly cut trousers. THe knew that a wrapped leather cord that resembled a bolo would look cool and ease us out of our choker rut and injected real glamour back into the house during a time when everyone else was doing quirk. His ads, styled by Carine Roitfeld and shot by Mario Testino, were impeccable, and between 1995 and 1996, the company’s sales increased by 90%.

This runway footage is a continuation of an aesthetic and attitude that Tom Ford mastered during his tenure at the label.

+ WATCH TOM FORD FOR GUCCI


MUSIC AND FASHION: THE FIRST FASHIONABLY LOUD

shalom harlow

Model Shalom Harlow walks in the first Fashionably Loud in 1996.
Photo: MTV

The marriage of music and fashion culminates in the first “Fashionably Loud” that aired in February, 1996. This clip is regrettably brief because of various licensing issues but we thought we’d at least give you a quick glimpse if for no other reason than to see Brandy Norwood walk a runway. It was an-hour long MTV show and for this inaugural event, Chris Isaak hosted. There were models galore with Cindy, Shalom, Amber,Helena, Kate, Linda, Naomi as well as musician-turned-model Debbie Harry. Milla Jovovich our stunning special correspondent pulled double duty to walk and interview audience members.

The designing lineup was just as stellar with collections from Marc Jacobs, Todd Oldham and Anna Sui. The models walked in time to live performances from Coolio, Filter and Elastica (MAJOR girlcrush on Justine Frischmann [ed note: UM, remember when she dated Brett Anderson and founded Suede and then dated Damon Albarn from Blur and inspired a GRIP of music and then co-wrote Arular with her roomie M.I.A? No? Learn about it. Stat.). Totally going to go off and listen to “Connection” right now. That guitar riff is EVERYTHING.

+ WATCH FASHIONABLY LOUD


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 46

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shalom harlow amber valletta

New hosts Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in Episode 47 of 'House of Style' in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 47
Title: March Edition
Original Airdate: 3/11/96
Appearances: Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda (Cibo Matto)

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: OUR NEW HOSTS, SHALOM AND AMBER

There was a time in fashion when Shalom and Amber were a model crew unto themselves. They didn’t just pal around, they appeared on magazine covers together and even tag-teamed hosting duties for our show. And, of course, true to House of Style form, we figured the quickest way to get to know them was to rummage through their closets.They show us thrifted suits, Pucci skirts, Vivienne Westwood summer dresses and fur slippers, and introduce the uninitiated among us to the concept of deconstructed hems.

The best part is watching Amber and Shalom interact with each other. They’re huge nerds. Amber is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has an easygoing, gangly way about her. She has bleach stains all over her favorite rock radio promo tee from home. Shalom reminds us with every vowel-heavy word that she’s SO Canadian. The way she pronounces “outfit” is incredibly endearing, and she repeats it enough that it could inspire a drinking game. It reminds us of how formal and nervous Cindy was before she became poised and comfortable, and the sign-off where Amber and Shalom say the salutation in tandem is exactly the corny thing Cindy would’ve objected to by the end of her tenure. It’s exciting to have these gorgeous yet oddly relatable girls at the helm.

+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA AND SHALOM HARLOW


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

things that are cool

Things That Are Cool in 1996: Street Style Edition.
Photo: MTV

In an effort to be more approachable, instead of showing the best and worst of the runway, House of Style at this stage is starting to do broader market work to include “lifestyle” pieces like art and books. In 1996, we put our stamp of approval on white eyeliner, platform flip flops by Converse, the Taschen Cristo & Jeanne-Claude coffee table book, a photo print dress from Agnès B., hair color by Oribé, a hideous condom wall vase (an unfurled condom, affixed to a wall, that you could put a single bud in), and last but certainly not least guitar straps from Built By Wendy designer Wendy Mullin. These guitar straps were so popular among musicians like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani while Wendy was going to FIT that they ended up spawning a clothing line. While the brick-and-mortar stores have been shuttered over last year and this year in favor of a web store, I remember how crucial it was at the time to have a jewel tone or navy pin-wale corduroy blazer of hers, because it looked great with everything and had lightly puffed and gathered sleeves that were flattering.

Things that suck are somewhat arbitrary. We rail against jelly shoes (remember the jellies with the chunk heels that Guess came out with and everyone ripped off? Everyone’s feet stank all summer), wearing vintage head-to-toe and something called “body glue.” You’ll notice that not a single trend comes from an established fashion house, and that everything is affordable to college kids.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK


MUSIC AND FASHION: EATING OUT WITH CIBO MATTO

cibo matto

Dining out with Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Cibo Matto was a big deal to me because before Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori showed up, the most ubiquitous Asian face in the fashion scene was either Anna Sui or Jenny Shimizu. It was nice to have some musicians in the mix, especially since female indie rockers at the time were so wonderfully kickass and these guys were so musically diverse. Cibo Matto was well ahead of the foodie trend, and their band (the name of which means “crazy food” in Italian) played zany songs on the subject of comestibles, with highly stylized, dreamy, surreal videos to match. Plus, there was rapping. It was refreshing to see them hanging out with Sean Lennon and the rest of the downtown cool kids, especially since they weren’t stereotypically glamorous as Asian pop stars were required to be in their respective countries at the time. Plus, it was awesome that they were both a little ESL, but could still be on MTV eating blueberry knishes at Yonah Schimmel.

For our eating tour, we visit Panna II, a.k.a. that Indian spot in the East Village with Christmas lights strung all over it; Kwanzaa for some West Indian stewed oxtail; the aforementioned knishes (which, according to Miho, taste “nostalgic”); and cheese fondue and elaborate desserts at Aureole. Yuka talks about how the girls’ relationship with food isn’t just a schtick, and that food composition and how a meal is wrapped up is a lot like the components of music. The group would eventually grow to five members (including Mr. Lennon), but would disband in 2001 only to reunite a decade later for a new album.

+ WATCH CIBO MATTO FOOD TOUR


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 47

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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

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: PARIS FASHION WEEK

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.

+ WATCH MODELS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: HAIR TIPS FROM STYLIST JULIEN D'YS

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.

+ WATCH JULIEN D'YS' STUDIO


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A.P.C.'S JEAN TOUITOU'S FASHION PHILOSOPHY

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.

+ WATCH A.P.C.


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 48

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jewel

Singer Jewel gets dressed up for prom at Bulgari in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 49
Title: Prom Edition
Original Airdate: 5/20/96
Appearances: Jewel, Selma Blair

MUSIC AND FASHION: JEWEL GETS A PROM UPGRADE

Remember Jewel’s origin story? Before her debut album, Pieces of You, went FIFTEEN TIMES PLATINUM, she grew up in Alaska, was super-poor, had an outhouse, and had to busk for money. Well, she also didn't get to go to prom and it’s why this Pygmalion transformation is compelling. Jewel goes to Manolo, a boutique named Anna, and diamond mecca — Bulgari (or BVLGARI if you’re going by logo) — and even though you know that the jewelry has to be returned (because you’ve seen Pretty Woman), you can’t help but wonder if she got to keep the other stuff. (Is this the televised precursor to the gifting suite?) It’s great to see Jewel’s taste across the board. I hope she made off with the three pairs of shoes because putting that necklace back had to hurt.

+ WATCH JEWEL GOES PROM SHOPPING

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: SELMA BLAIR’S PROM PSA

selma blair

Actors Anson Scoville and Selma Blair get ready for the prom in 1996.
Photo: MTV

In this faux ’50s instructional video purporting to demystify prom, the things you notice straightaway is that actress Selma Blair is in it, and that she’s a tiny, baby child. The delivery is a little hokey, but the service elements are actually fantastic. I can totally imagine being a girl and hoping my date would watch it in advance, because the advice is sound: Dudes should absolutely wear a tux; you should practice dancing and walking in heels; you should opt for a wrist corsage instead of a pin; and you need to make the call on whether or not to kiss your date based on how receptive he is to handholding and whether he laughed at your jokes. All solid.

It’s funny because part of me thinks this is all hideously outdated and that kids nowadays are no longer this innocent because of sexting and being on Facebook from the second they’re born, but for each 11-year-old girl in my Brooklyn neighborhood that dresses like a 27-year-old woman, there must be a young lady who never wears heels. And guys who may be able to download as much free porn as they want may not know a single thing about how to tell whether or not a girl likes them. I choose to think this corny piece endures because I am a million years old and this sort of good, clean fun makes me smile.

+ WATCH SELMA BLAIR PROM TIPS

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

comme des garcons

Things That Suck For Prom in 1996.
Photo: MTV

The marketwork on this is also prom-themed, and while things like “Comme des Garçons” sneaker loafers merit a bit of side eye (what kid can afford them or cares enough to buy them?), I do love that there’s the equally unattainable but awesome inclusion of a Motorola Startec mini phone. Retro technology’s cool because it sucks.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: 'SEVENTEEN' MAGAZINE'S PROM SHOOT

For the latest prom trends, we go on location in San Diego with Seventeen magazine to check out cowl neck dresses, full-length pouf skirts and bias-cut silhouettes in fabrics from chiffon to satin to velvet. There are a couple of tux alternatives shown in festive textures and accessories cover the right necklace for your neckline and the power of a single cocktail ring.

+ WATCH 'SEVENTEEN' MAGAZINE'S PROM SHOOT

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 49

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cindy crawford dennis rodman

Dennis Rodman models swimsuits with Cindy Crawford in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 50
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 6/17/96
Appearances: Pat Smear, Cindy Crawford, Dennis Rodman

POP CULTURE AND FASHION: CINDY INTERVIEWS DENNIS RODMAN

Call me crazy, but by the end of this segment I couldn’t help but wondering if Cindy requested to return to the show expressly for this piece. She looooooooves Dennis Rodman. I'm not into sports but this guy was a pop culture icon in the mid-'90s. He dated Madonna, wrote a book called Bad As I Wanna Be, wore a wedding dress during the press junket for his biography, and appeared onstage with Pearl Jam because that was his favorite band. Here, Dennis and Cindy try on bathing suits in the unfinished Seattle Planet Hollywood in a makeshift studio.

Cindy wears a very shiny shirt, Dennis wears a gigantic faux fur and brocade cap, and she can't stop admiring his physique while cracking “The Worm” jokes. Ever the exhibitionist, Dennis climbs into a tiny banana hammock and Cindy just about passes out.

Dennis is significant because basketball players aren't the most stylish dudes. I wasn't a fan of everything he did but he always took huge fashion risks with his ever-changing hair color, tattoos, and piercings. Plus, he always supported AIDS awareness and once declared that he would marry himself because he was bisexual. Some of the schtick was obviously publicity stunt-ish but you can appreciate his intentions, like how on this segment he has AIDS ribbons spray-painted onto his hair. At any rate, I’ll take Dennis Rodman in a Gaultier bathing suit over Michael Jordan’s distressed dad jeans any day. And don't even get me started on those awful, oversized, over-loud Steve Harvey suits that rookies wear when they're drafted.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AND DENNIS RODMAN

MUSIC AND FASHION: PAT SMEAR MODELS

pat smear

Pat Smear goes on a photo shoot with Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in New York in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Shalom and Amber hit the East Village for a photo shoot with Germs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear. Shalom shoots, Amber styles and the three gallivant around New York on a hot summer day with a van filled with clothes. Italian ices are eaten, nails are painted and Pat poses in spring’s hottest togs, from mini-skirts to blue suits. The trio linger in barbershop doorways and on benches in Tompkins Square Park, with Shalom snapping all the while. At one point, she even takes issue with the House of Style camera crew for getting in her shot. It’s hardly a professional shoot: Amber jumps in to lotion dry legs, there are still price tags hanging out, and the end results are slightly blurred. Pat’s a great sport, going so far as to wear a gender-bending look Amber put together for him onstage.

+ WATCH PAT SMEAR PHOTO SHOOT

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

cool things

Things That Are Cool for Summer in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Everything in this segment looks like it was plucked from a rave flyer. There are curved metallic bags, tiny braided hair buns, brightly-colored sunglasses and a portable vanity (from AlwaysGroovy.com, no less) and it reminds us that you couldn’t walk into a Spencer’s Gifts without 90% of the stuff being about space or aliens. It’s insane how trendy the extraterrestrial motif was in 1996: Most of the things deemed cool fall into this category. The outlier is a quick message to support the independent record store, with a shout-out to Tim Jackson and Carolyn Schmitt’s Adult Crash, which used to sit on 66 avenue A, with a clientele that included such bold names as Courtney Love, Thurston Moore and Jon Spencer. Wendy Mullins from Built by Wendy also worked there. They specialized in Japanese imports and 7 inches, but apparently the call to arms didn’t suffice, because they’ve since sadly shuttered. Things that suck include blue nail polish (which seems more an issue of personal taste) and the high-heeled thong sandal because: barf.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 50

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helmut newton

Photographer Helmut Newton and 'Vogue' magazine Creative Director Grace Coddington in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 51
Title: Best Of Summer Edition
Original Airdate: 7/22/96
Includes segments from:

  • Helmut Newton Photographs Eva Herzigova For Vogue (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford With Dennis Rodman (Episode 50)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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gwen stefani

Gwen Stefani of No Doubt works out at the gym before her show in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 52
Title: Back To School Edition
Original Airdate: 9/9/96
Appearances: Gwen Stefani

MUSIC AND FASHION: GWEN STEFANI AND SHALOM HARLOW HANG OUT

This segment is like watching unicorns eat sandwiches. You can’t even be mad at Gwen Stefani or Shalom Harlow for their surreal prettiness, because it has nothing to do with you. Gwen Stefani is so beautiful and Shalom is so beautiful and when they stand together you have to get a pinhole box even to look at them straight because it’s like staring into the sun. And the worst part is, they look this fantastic while going to the gym.

First of all, Gwen and Shalom are both wearing oversized sweatpants, which immediately reminds you of how attractive that whole look can be. Gwen is wearing a cut-up teeny wifebeater, baby barrettes and lipstick, and Shalom is not wearing a bra. They hop onto the treadmill for cardio at Equinox, and the thinness of their midsections and the thinness of their eyebrows are distracting for a while. Gwen does make a point to note that she works out not to maintain her figure but so that she’ll be strong and agile for shows. If you’ve ever seen girl work those high kicks and push-ups onstage, you’ll know what she’s talking about.

Then it’s off to the Roseland, where Gwen’s clothes lay thick on the ground. This time, she’s wearing baggy trousers (which again reminds you of how flattering that hip-hugging, stove-leg silhouette is), a different-colored cropped tank and a retro floral shrunken cardigan. It’s show and tell as Gwen pulls outfits out of her luggage that she hand sewed and talks about how her mother used to make outfits for her when she was young. The dresses are hyper-colorful and cartoonish. They’re so obviously the prototypes for the Harajuku Gothic-Lolita-froufrou of Gwen’s line L.A.M.B. and Shalom remarks on how much of her clothing has been cut up and reconfigured. It’s no surprise that Gwen Stefani would later have a successful clothing line. Her sense of style is as unique, weird and cool as her music.

+ WATCH SHALOM HARLOW WITH GWEN STEFANI

STREET STYLE: BACK TO SCHOOL SHOES

This is the weirdest little segment where we just see a bunch of feet and hear random city chitchat. We're presented with chunk heels, lug heels, Mary Janes, T-straps, peep-toes, contrasted white shoes with black tights, animal print ballet slippers with heels and suede knee-length boots.

+ WATCH BACK TO SCHOOL SHOES

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 52

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shalom harlow amber valletta

New hosts Amber Valletta and Shalom Harlow in Episode 47 of 'House of Style' in 1996.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 53
Title: Best Of Edition
Original Airdate: 10/14/96
Includes segments from:

  • Shalom Harlow and Amber Valletta Closet Tours (Episode 47)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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jason lewis

Male model Jason Lewis in 1996.
Photo: MTV

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

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: JASON LEWIS

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

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

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

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

+ WATCH JASON LEWIS

STREET STYLE: SPORTSWEAR FOR REGULAR DUDES

mens sportswear

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

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

+ WATCH MENS SPORTSWEAR

STREET STYLE: WHAT GUYS ARE WEARING

men fashion

Men's street fashion in 1996.
Photo: MTV

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

+ WATCH MENS STREET STYLE

DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: TODD HELPS LAZY GUYS

todd oldham

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

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

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


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

+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM'S LAZY GUY TIPS

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

green barrel

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

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

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

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

+ WATCH THE GREEN BARREL SKATE SHOP

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 54

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kate moss jon stewart linda evangelista

MTV correspondent Jon Stewart backstage with models Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista at New York Fashion Week in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 8 Episode: 55
Title: Best Of '96 Edition
Original Airdate: 12/13/96
Includes segments from:

  • Jon Stewart At New York Fashion Week (Episode 39)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Shalom Harlow Hangs Out With Gwen Stefani (Episode 52)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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MTV Style follows how people express themselves through fashion and beauty, from our favorite pop culture icons to you, the reader. We cover the fun, loud side of the industry with news, trends, interviews, videos, and more — MTV Style is fashion at full volume.

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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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