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the spice girls

Victoria Adams, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton of The Spice Girls go shopping in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 56
Title: Romance Edition
Original Airdate: 2/4/97
Appearances: Victoria Adams, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton (The Spice Girls), Pat Smear, Annie Morton, Laura Mercier

MUSIC AND FASHION: THE SPICE GIRLS GO TO THE MALL

Colors of the wooooooorld! This segment heralds Pat Smear joining the House of Style team as our new correspondent, and his surly deadpan is perfect for a trip to the mall with Baby Spice, Sporty Spice and Posh Spice. Not just any part of the mall either, we're going to Contempo Casuals! To give you a little primer on timeline, this piece dates to when “Wannabe” topped pop charts in twenty countries, but it’s also this sliver of time before the girls were media-trained, so they’re a little rough around the edges. It's soooooooooo good.

On that note, I’m a little bummed Scary and Ginger aren’t around, but we do get to see Posh when she was Victoria ADAMS. Yup, this is pre-Beckham, pre-Hollywood, and pre-being-so-skinny-her-cheekbones-could-cut-a-bish. I think her shoes might be *gasp* only moderately expensive. The four troop to Newport Centre in Jersey in a white stretch limousine. Baby is wearing a stretchy blue shirt and a pair of black trousers. It’s very Limited, like she’s landed a job in data entry. Posh wears a matching white crop top and stretch trouser suit, and Sporty’s in adidas warm-ups with black sneakers and black socks. It’s amazing to see how subtle their style cues are back then, considering how each of their discrete "fashion personalities" would become so much more exaggerated and costumey as they got more famous.

Emma (a.k.a. Baby) finds herself a frog backpack that Pat shoots down. Posh self-consciously admits to having looked ridiculous as a child, to which Pat quips that she still looks ridiculous. For an MTV exclusive, Mel (a.k.a. Sporty) puts on a skirt. Pat is way too cool for school throughout. You can never tell if he likes them, never mind if they like him back, but it is fascinating to watch the three girls clown around in Elvis outfits and ridiculous hats, since that they’re never going to be this normal again.

+ WATCH PAT SMEAR WITH THE SPICE GIRLS


MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: ANNIE MORTON

annie morton

Model Annie Morton in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Annie Morton's a weird one. She was popular in the ’90s fashion community but never became renowned outside of it. With her gap teeth and slight 5’8” frame, she has both Lauren Hutton and Kate Moss to thank for opened doors, but what people remember most fondly about her is that there was a realness to her sexiness.

Whether it was Annie’s creative decision or ours, this interview is also really real. It all goes down on the floor of her apartment and her hair is messy. She's not wearing any makeup but is wearing what could be classified as “house pants.” Annie goes to get a photo of her brother while instructing us not to follow her into her apartment (we are relegated to the hallway) and talks us through her modeling book. Her black cat walks across our shot, the buzzer rings and at one point, we even hear our interviewer speak. Not once do we stop rolling. This is such a different scene from our interviews with supermodels, even the most candid ones.

There is a notable lack of glamour or pretense. Pop music may dominate the charts in the latter part of the decade, but the lo-fi effects of grunge are still felt within the fashion community in terms of the prevalent vibe still being antithetical to the supermodel. Annie also enjoyed a certain versatility, from her ads for Donna Karan to a shoot with Ellen Von Unwerth, but she also famously appeared naked in Juergen Teller’s book for Taschen. The photographer responsible for the eerie, sun-bleached Marc Jacobs ad campaigns is an apt complement to Annie’s modeling style.

+ WATCH ANNIE MORTON


DEMOCRATIZING STYLE: LAURA MERCIER SHOWS US SPRING MAKEUP FOR 1997

laura mercier

Spring makeup tips from makeup artist Laura Mercier in 1997.
Photo: MTV

It’s always nice to see the people behind the product, and as recognizable as her eponymous makeup line is, I’d never seen Laura Mercier herself. The makeup artist is fierce. She has retro curled-under bangs, a feline swoop to her eyeliner and wears massive hoop earrings. In makeup trends, we begin to move away from the spackled foundation and heavily powdered looks of the decades before. This was the beginning of the time period when tinted moisturizer became more popular than the cream base, and Laura has some great tips for achieving the “it” look.

Concealer corrects small blemishes, obviating the need for an entire faceful of foundation. Moisturizing is key, and an eye cream is deployed to achieve a smooth, blendable surface. Light, bright colors like oranges and pinks are ideal, as is anything with a little shimmer or shine. Laura advises people not to make a Nike swoosh while applying blush, instead creating a small arch right on top of the apple of the cheek. She also instructs viewers to set up a makeup station by a window with natural light in order to avoid surprises. The final look is beautiful, youthful and vibrant.

The only thing that I have to add is that as someone who tried the shimmery bare-face, the dewy perfection often devolves into a shiny mess. Without a purposeful brow, lid, or lip to anchor a look, I always ended up rice paper-ing my reflective T-zones so compulsively that by the end of the day I was left with a naked face. This was a positive move away from the overly made-up looks of the early ’90s and ’80s, but if you ask me, it was a pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction. Trends and scientists would eventually help us find a happy medium. Thank you, cosmetic polymers.

+ WATCH LAURA MERCIER ON MAKEUP


THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK: VALENTINE'S DAY

valentine's day

Things That Are Cool and Things That Suck For Valentine's Day in 1997.
Photo: MTV

This Valentine's day, we're into old-school, personalized cards, chinoiserie, fancy bubble bath, soap, glittery eyes, boxes of assorted candy, red polish, and "love"-themed rings.

We're anti getting money like we're some sort of charity case, dudes getting pervy, white pumps, public displays of affection and guys who freshen breath in a totally un-suave way before they try to make out with us. Gross.

+ WATCH THINGS THAT ARE COOL AND THINGS THAT SUCK

Things That Are Cool and Things That Suck | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 56

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lil kim

Photographer Terry Richardson shoots rapper Lil' Kim for 'Visionaire' magazine in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 57
Title: Prom Edition
Original Airdate: 3/4/97
Appearances: Lil' Kim, Terry Richardson, Nina Gordon (Veruca Salt), Louise Post (Veruca Salt)

MUSIC AND FASHION: TERRY RICHARDSON SHOOTS LIL’ KIM FOR 'VISIONAIRE'

I hate to harp on the nostalgia of revisiting House of Style, but can we please take a moment to proclaim how hot Lil’ Kim was? SO HOT. Never mind that she’s half-naked and FLOODED in a million dollars worth of diamonds for this Visionaire shoot, but the young rapper is bright-eyed and excited, which makes this footage extra major. Now, I’d like to direct your attention to Terry Richardson because he doesn’t look like Terry Richardson yet. Did you think that the photographer walked out of the womb in a buffalo plaid shirt, jeans, glasses and full facial hair with his thumbs up? I did.

It’s also exciting that this segment predates the term “bling bling” by two whole years so we don't have to hear everyone who doesn't listen to rap or even know who B.G. is repeat it uncontrollably in an annoying way. Yay!

+ WATCH LIL' KIM WITH TERRY RICHARDSON

Lil Kim With Terry Richardson | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

MUSIC AND FASHION: VERUCA SALT DOES PROM

veruca salt

Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt dress up for prom in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Prom is like the Seether: You can’t fight it. It doesn’t matter how cool and disaffected you are: If the prospect of getting dressed up in a shiny frock for a special, glamorous night with your friends does nothing for you, you're probably dead inside. Sorry.

Anyway, the thing I love about Veruca Salt’s Louise Post and Nina Gordon doing this is that they’re both weirdly into it, and get progressively more into it despite how strange the lighting is for the whole operation. The ladies dress up in varying styles—animal-print slips from Jessica McClintock’s saucier side and black chiffon Anna Sui party dresses—and each take turns modeling while the other announces their arrival like a beauty pageant MC. There’s a scene where lipstick is smeared everywhere like a Soundgarden video, and a part where the ladies dance around in white satin gowns like brides gone wild. There’s plenty of great ’90s formalwear touches like chokers, chinoiserie, half-pony updos, bias-cut everything, and really complicated headgear with butterflies mounted on snippets of wire. They both look deranged as they jump around with guitars, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s every bit a YouTube video thrown together by bored besties who are playing dress-up, and the fact that it’s made by kickass, unselfconscious musicians from Chicago is why it rules.

+ WATCH VERUCA SALT MODEL

Veruca Salt Models | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

DEMYSTIFYING STYLE: SUSAN CIANCIOLO BREAKS DOWN THE PROM DRESS

susan cianciolo

Artist Susan Cianciolo creates anti-prom dresses in 1997.
Photo: MTV

I’d never seen this episode before and was extra-curious to see how it turned out when I read that House of Style had enlisted an artist to create three “anti-prom dresses” from salvaged and industrial materials that cost less than $100. There were too many qualifiers, too many buzzwords that signaled potential disaster, especially when thrown together in 1997. I have to be honest: I was half-expecting this to end up looking like Mugatu’s Derelicte collection, and I was wrong.

Susan Cianciolo is an extraordinary maker of things. She attended Parsons and spent time working with Kim Gordon on X-Girl before starting her own line, Run, in 1995. The first collection featured Chloë Sevigny in deconstructed clothes, and each subsequent collection (dubbed Run 2, Run 3 and so on) featured unusual, refreshing design details. Despite critical acclaim, Susan left fashion in 2001 to concentrate on other art forms, choosing to make commissioned couture only for select clients.

In 2006, Susan returned to fashion. That is, she returned to using textile as a medium with an exhibition with a denim company. Small collections have followed since, each incorporating an element of performance art. Susan’s interdisciplinary approach can be seen in her F/W 2011 collection, which was formatted and presented as a play.

I know I’m going on, but check out this fantastic article in Index magazine, with illustrator Dame Darcy reading her palm; she describes Susan’s design process as “hand-stitching everything to the point of dementia.” I want to properly set up why this video is cool, so here’s another great quote from a Vice interview by Jaclyn Hodes in 2008:

“All my work is draped for hours and hours. Exactly how it’s sitting on the body is the most important part of the dress, even after all the research and the hours of embroidery and beadings. I’ve spent weeks and weeks on some of the dresses doing the same things over and over. It’s all about finding out how it hits the body in just the way that’s complementary and beautiful. People have always said to me that the clothes are sexy and this could be why, because I’m always thinking so much about body shapes.”

I’m not certain how much footage there is in the world of Susan draping, but this one is targeted as a service piece for young people, which I find especially exciting. Susan narrates the entire process as she creates three distinct, beautiful dresses. She mutters in this rhythmic monotone, and it’s like watching a tiny, industrious bird with OCD as she builds a series of nests. While Susan winds ribbons of fabric and panels of vellum on the model, the suspense builds. With each added layer, we discover something new, and the impression of improvisation is a deception. There are multiple sketches, notes, and plans that accompany the process as the garment comes to fruition, and it’s like watching from the inside of Susan’s head if she were wearing an Iron Man helmet.

There are torn stockings, painted panels and cheesecloth. Excess pieces of fabric are tucked and tied away, and if I were an aspiring designer making a dress at the time, I would’ve found it empowering to watch real footage of a real artist making a profoundly romantic, imperfect dress. It’s a wonderful display of ingenuity and weirdness.

+ WATCH SUSAN CIANCIOLO'S ANTI PROM

Susan Cianciolo's Anti Prom | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

MUSIC AND FASHION: PAT SMEAR AND KURT LODER GET ETIQUETTE LESSONS

Our special correspondant Pat Smear and MTV News anchor Kurt Loder learn etiquette lessons from the pearl-strung, stiff-haired Letitia Baldridge on the dos and don'ts of dining. Kurt looks hot in a tux and Pat looks fetching in a black turtleneck. They goof off, Pat smokes his face off and chucks his butt into his soup and the segment ends with the two men slow dancing.

+ WATCH ETIQUETTE LESSONS

Etiquette Lessons | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style

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alexander mcqueen

Designer Alexander McQueen at London Fashion Week in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 58
Title: London Edition
Original Airdate: 4/1/97
Appearances: Antonio Berardi, Hussein Chalayan, Clements Ribeiro, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Cindy Crawford

DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: BRITISH DESIGNERS

British designers are super complicated and cerebral. Case in point: When we talk to Antonio Berardi and he informs us that his collection is about “voodoo and the Gunpowder plot.” Sold! But also, what?

In this rapid-fire tour through the greatest designing minds showing at London, we have the privilege of talking to Hussein Chalayan (later to be the designer of the Lady Gaga Grammys egg) about his Fall/Winter 1997 collection, inspired by seeing the weather as “some kind of god.” It translates into cobwebby, floor-skimming dresses with exaggeratedly long sleeves and turtlenecks. There are also impeccably-cut fluid capes of varying length.

Clements Ribeiro shows leather dresses as well as an interesting maxi seersucker effect on some trousers (the vertical, wrinkly line bits are magnified). Vivienne Westwood shows structured, ladylike suits, plaids, strong shoulders and canny layers for her Red Label. She, of course, also offers up the best quotes. “I love to have these girls looking like little ladies ready to enter the world,” she says. “Instead of wasting their time jumping around in sloppy, horrible clothes.”

Workers for Freedom, the now defunct brand created by partners Richard Nott and Graham Fraser, showed a brilliant line that called attention to tonal dressing in North Africa, and tailored silhouettes with tie closures for a fluid wraparound look that was SO NOT British and so quietly exciting. There’s Owen Gaster with characteristically English suiting, pencil skirts, precision tailoring and box pleats.

And then we have a quick interview with Alexander McQueen about his “It’s A Jungle Out There” collection. We're shown live footage of the pony skin jacket with impala horns that was featured in his posthumous Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met and beautiful pelts fashioned into Flintstonian smocks. There's enormous hair teased into wild manes, fur burnout brocade that makes my brain bleed to consider the labor, catsuits that move with surreal tensile fluidity and floor-length pony dresses that a Dothraki queen would give her and her blood riders' eyeteeth for. “It’s about humans being savages,” says McQueen. “The cavemen; this is how they clothed themselves. They didn’t have a sewing machine in a hundred million years B.C. I do these things for a reason. I don’t do it because of some blasé fashion thing.”

+ WATCH '97 BRITISH FALL FASHION WEEK


DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: GALLIANO FOR DIOR

john galliano cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford interviews Christian Dior designer John Galliano in 1997.
Photo: MTV

While we’re at London fashion week, Cindy’s in Paris with the designer John Galliano to interview him as the head of the House of Dior. The designer talks about Christian Dior (the inventor of the New Look), in hallowed terms and says he sees Dior as “God.” Dior used to show 200 outfits at his atelier, with some collections taking over two hours to run through. Galliano may not be as prolific, but he did bring tremendous success to both his line and to Dior during most of his tenure. It’s interesting to see Galliano’s incredible technique evolve as it melds with the most notable influences of the esteemed fashion house. Galliano brings his love of the bias cut to Dior, but this time all the slipperiness is anchored by foundation garments. The effect is palpably different — a little more serious. We accompany Cindy to her fitting and the segment ends too quickly. I could watch an hour of Galliano in his heyday and it makes me terribly sad to think about what's become of him since.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD INTERVIEW JOHN GALLIANO


POP CULTURE AND FASHION: VOYAGE, THE MOST EXCLUSIVE STORE IN ENGLAND

voyage boutique london

Daisy Fuentes and model Karen Mulder visit Voyage boutique in London with owners Tiziano and Louise Mazzilli in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Opened in London by husband and wife Tiziano and Louise Mazzilli in 1991, Voyage gained notoriety for its expensive clothing (a silk dress was about $1,000 with coats costing about $2,500), and for turning away customers like Madonna, Julia Roberts and Naomi Campbell. The collection was only offered in one size, no fashion designers were ever allowed in and customers were permitted entry on an invitation-only basis. In 1996, it was reported that the Mazzillis had made over $10 million in sales, but by 2002, Voyage was about 3 Million GBP in debt. The store is now shuttered, and the couple have since divorced. According to fashion insiders, the company was spending wildly, as evidenced by full-page ads, taken out in prominent magazines, that featured members of their family. There’s a great one in the Daily Mail with their kids Tatum and Rocky posing in front of a Union Jack dressed like raver pirates. They’re also referred to as British fashion’s “Addams Family.” “The whole ad campaign was so self-indulgent,” says a source, “with the family striking these creepy poses.” It seems they don’t advertise to create business, they advertise through pure vanity. They’re essentially the original Kardashians, but with one key difference: They’re actually incredible designers.

(Warning: medium-sized tangent ahead so feel free to stray.) I can’t help it, I think this family is amazing. There’s a pretty recent wardrobe visit with Tiziano on StyleLikeU, where he shows us his Savile Row vests, bedazzled Puma Clydes (that he mistakenly calls Nikes), a skull Lego Jesus piece, a massive, plastic engagement ring bracelet (because he’s “engaged with himself”), and an exquisite metallic python moto jacket that looks like chainmail. Tatum and Rocky, his daughter and his son (respectively), have grown up to become designers as well. Tatum has a laser-cut acrylic jewelry line called Funky Bling; Rocky, who has long green hair and wears a grip of tribal face paint and lipstick, has a line called Year Zero. It is beloved by Nicki Minaj and 2NE1. Rocky designs it with his mother, who now has bright yellow hair, a shorn portion of which is dyed to resemble animal print. All four wear heaps of plastic jewelry, making them look like an 8bit MDMA fever dream.

(Note: Tangent over.) Voyage was masterful. Granted, the offerings were outrageously expensive and the family’s eccentricities were a bit much, but in this segment you can’t deny that a dress Daisy Fuentes (our new host for a couple of episodes) and Karen Mulder can both try on is nothing short of magical. If you looked at the recent video of Tiziano and Louise, you’ll be shocked at how they look in this segment. They both look so normal. Tiziano is wearing silk pajamas (very S/S 2012) and Louise has politician-lady hair. I can’t accurately speak on what their collection looked like in later years, but in 1997 this couple knew how to whip up a tissue-thin dress that looks divine and plays opaque against skin. There’s one dress that Karen calls a work of art. It looks as if a lightning bolt and a rainbow shining off an oil slick made a baby. It’s unbelievable. But the best part of this footage is that there’s something so down-to-earth and unpolished about Daisy that she doesn't give a crap about pricetags when she grabs whatever she feels like trying on. You can feel the Mazzillis’ side eye and it buuuuuuurns.

+ WATCH KAREN MULDER AT VOYAGE


STREET STYLE: LONDON

london street style

London band Everything But The Girl in 1997.
Photo: MTV

According to everyone we talk to in London, and interviews with Goldie and Bjork as well as Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl, all British young persons are wearing vintage clothing. There are secondhand blazers, tattered faux fur coats inherited from moms, plaid pants, old-school anoraks and studded leather jackets. As for footwear, it’s pretty much the same over there as it was here—adidas, Pumas, creepers and Dr Martens. There’s a bit of good-natured ribbing as to who’s got better style, Brits or Americans, but it’s actually hilarious to see that kids in London and kids in New York are all too broke to buy flashy new duds, and are dyeing their own hair for a quick makeover because the rent is too damn high on both sides of the pond.

+ WATCH LONDON STREET STYLE


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pat smear

Musician and 'House of Style' correspondent Pat Smear tours the Playboy Mansion with Ava Fabian in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 59
Title: Swimsuit Edition
Original Airdate: 5/6/97
Appearances: Pat Smear, Cindy Crawford, Peter Beard

PAT SMEAR VISITS THE PLAYBOY MANSION

Pat Smear serves as host on this episode and we can see why considering he gets to visit the Playboy Mansion in the name of fashion. For this swimsuit episode, the Germs/Nirvana/Foo Fighters musician gallivants around Hef's grounds and the issue of style sort of goes out the window (or falls into the grotto) since no one is really wearing anything. We couldn't clear this segment because of the full frontal nudity on the entire cast and crew so take our word for it—everybody looked great! Actually, that's a bald-faced lie. We had clearance issues but maybe just go watch that one Entourage episode where Ari Gold wears pajamas under his suit to go the party at the mans. Or that one Sex And The City when Samantha buys a fake Fendi purse because it'll at least evoke the idea. Pat talks to Ava Fabian (Miss August 1986), Jessica Lee (Miss August 1996), Julie Cialini (Playmate of the Year, 1995), and Lisa Marie Scott (Miss February, 1995).

CULTURE AND FASHION: CINDY INTERVIEWS ARTIST PETER BEARD

peter beard

Cindy Crawford visits the studio of artist Peter Beard in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Cindy returns to interview the artist Peter Beard who is this mega-famous suave badass who likes to travel to Africa a bunch and basically has that debonair style that all heterosexual men idolize. He seems like the sort of guy who has the best chairs and owns a very expensive watch that would do well on a submarine. He's a little neo-colonial and obviously monied. He says things like, "primatava." LOL. He looks like he could fly a plane.

Born in New York, Beard is a diarist, collagist, collector, photographer and mixed media artist who has collaborated with numerous luminaries like Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth and Truman Capote. He's big into animal carcasses and was once gored by an elephant. Anyway, what he does in this segment is cover his head in blood and guts and makes Cindy help him make a print. No joke. You totally don't see it coming.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD WITH PETER BEARD

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cindy crawford

Cindy Crawford's swimsuit calendar shoot in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1991.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 60
Title: Retrospective
Original Airdate: 6/3/97
Includes segments from:

  • Dee Dee Ramone Gets A Paul Smith Makeover (Episode 2)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford And Tracey Ullman Play Dress Up (Episode 5)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Swimsuit Calendar Photo Shoot (Episode 8 )
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford's Vogue Shoot With Helmut Newton In Monte Carlo (Episode 10)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Linda Evangelista Model Profile (Episode 12)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Niki Taylor's Vogue Shoot In Miami (Episode 14)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • The Beastie Boys And The X-Large Store (Episode 15)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Liv Tyler Goes Back To School Shopping (Episode 16)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Kate Moss Model Profile (Episode 19)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Todd Oldham's Swimsuit Pointers (Episode 22)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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

  • Cindy Crawford Goes Grocery Shopping With Onyx (Episode 25)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Amber Valletta Model Profile (Episode 27)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Shoe Shopping With Sheryl Crow (Episode 35)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Jon Stewart Goes Backstage At Calvin Klein (Episode 39)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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

  • Daisy Fuentes Shoots A Swimsuit Calendar (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Sexy Swimsuits In The City (Episode 40)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Naughty By Nature's Newark Style (Episode 43)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Kurt Loder Gets A House Of Style Makeover (Episode 43)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Jewel Goes Prom Shopping (Episode 49)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Cindy Crawford And Dennis Rodman Try On Swimsuits (Episode 50)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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

  • Jason Lewis Model Profile (Episode 54)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Todd Oldham's Lazy Guy Tips (Episode 54)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

  • Pat Smear Goes Shopping With The Spice Girls (Episode 56)
  • VIDEO | PHOTO

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cindy crawford hanson

Cindy Crawford hangs out with Isaac, Zac and Taylor Hanson of Hanson in 1997.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 61
Title: Summer Edition
Original Airdate: 7/1/97
Appearances: Cindy Crawford, Hanson

MUSIC AND FASHION: CINDY GOES SHOPPING WITH HANSON

Cindy returns once again, looking like a hot babysitter while shopping and having lunch at Johnny Rockets with Hanson. They check out a record store, where we discover that the Hanson boys enjoy Top 40s like Blues Traveler, Spin Doctors, Aerosmith, No Doubt, Jewel and Alanis Morissette. They also hit up a Track and Fitness store to look at Dickies and sunglasses. The brothers who made “pop scatting” a big deal with the nonsensical hook of their infectious Grammy-nominated single “MMMBop,” are thoughtful and intelligent, and it’s a testament to their talents that they’ve been working as professional musicians for the last two decades.

I’d never bothered to learn their names, but Isaac is the oldest, Taylor is the middle one (or “the hot one”), and Zac is the baby. All three sing, but Isaac plays the guitar and piano; Taylor plays keyboard, piano, guitar and drums; and Zac plays drums, piano and guitar. In a time when award-winning singers with multimillion-dollar record deals can’t read music or carry a tune without digital help, it’s refreshing to get to know the Hansons, especially if you’d previously dismissed them as a one-hit wonder.

There’s no real style element to this other than the reminder of how grateful we are that long hairstyles from the ’90s are no longer in fashion, but the group clearly adores music. Isaac says, “You have to make the music that you make and cross your fingers and hope that they like it.” He even goes on to say that the “money’s only there to give you the opportunity to do more of what you love.” All three are so mutually supportive, earnest and wholesome that you can’t help liking them. But then you feel really old the more you find out about them because all three now have kids and that's just crazy.

+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD SHOP WITH HANSON

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puffy

Rapper Puff Daddy picks out an outfit for the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 62
Title: 1997 VMA Special: "Let Me Just Slip Into Something Incredibly Uncomfortable..."
Original Airdate: 9/5/97
Appearances: Puff Daddy

MUSIC AND FASHION: PUFF DADDY PICKS OUT HIS VMAs OUTFIT

When Puff Daddy was still called Puff Daddy, back in 1997, long before his clothing line Sean John won a CFDA, he was infinitely more ostentatious. To prep for the VMAs, we pick him up at his yacht, where he’s soaking in a hot tub with his son Justin and stepson Quincy. If you’re a fan of My Super Sweet 16, you can gauge how long ago this was by how little and adorable the two are. We squire the three men off in a black stretch limousine to hit the boutiques in search for multiple outfits for Puff, since the rap mogul is feeling himself in a “male Diana Ross” mode: He needs a rehearsal outfit, a red carpet outfit, a performance outfit and a “sitting down in my seat oufit.”

First, we go to Prada, where a collegiate look (slacks, sweater, white shirt and a thick, cumbersome necktie) is deemed too preppy. Puff opts for a brown leather car coat instead. At Gucci, he picks up some logo hardware loafers and mentions that he likes an element of Elton John and Liberace in his style. He enjoys logos on his clothes, despite the tackiness. A dark blue, shiny shirt is also copped because it looks good against the moon man. A jet-black suit, double-breasted but with a concealed placket, is also purchased.

At Versace, Puff swoons over a suede suit with a long jacket, and notes how beautifully the Italian house’s garments always fit.

It’s interesting that this was the heyday of conspicuous consumption in rap, as lyrics shifted to include Italian and Parisian fashion brand names. It was also the beginning of the "Shiny Suit" era, which Puff, Ma$e and Hype Williams set off with the “Mo Money Mo Problems” video, styled by June Ambrose. Originally, the director wanted leather suits, but June won, and the ensembles that spawned a thousand glinting replicas were born. “With the metallic suit, it was [convincing] Puffy, this hip-hop artist, that this was going to be impactful,” she says. “I showed him the red metallic and he says, ‘I am not wearing that. I was like, ‘Please trust me.’ I had to make one red leather outfit and one metallic leather outfit and… I won!”

Blessedly, Diddy has since grown partial to classic tuxedos, narrow lapel suits, cashmere sweaters, black tees, and varsity jackets, with only the occasional sparks of flamboyance in his flashy outerwear — no more reflective clothing or oversized dyed leather jackets.

+ WATCH PUFF DADDY SHOP FOR THE '97 VMAS

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 62

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alek wek

Photographer David LaChapelle shoots model Alek Wek for French 'Vogue.'
Photo: MTV

Season: 9 Episode: 63
Title: The Year in Fashion
Original Airdate: 12/16/97
Appearances: Alek Wek, David LaChapelle, Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawford

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: ALEK WEK

Alek Wek was a huge deal when she arrived on the scene because this Sudanese model broke the mold. She was bald, with a round face, slightly squinty eyes and beautiful skin that was so black she appeared to glow. Alek’s claim to fame was her inclusion in Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye” video for the James Bond movie of the same name. Ms. Turner wears this incredible skin-tight white satin dress with a high slit; Alek lounges on a chaise, skin gleaming as she fondles a giant jewel.

We’re on set with Alek and the incomparable photographer David LaChapelle. Alek is wearing a fuchsia formal gown in this tidy little neighborhood in Queens, and the bright sun and pedestrian backdrop creates a dreamy feeling with this beautiful, statuesque model who’s incongruous to everything around her. Alek has this easy, loping walk and looks great on the runway, but where she gets really exciting is in dramatic editorials. David calls her a “monumental beauty”; I don’t want to sound fetishistic, but she does have a look so striking that you either love her or hate her. She is definitely a part of the New Wave of models, and looks so unique that it makes total sense that she continues to work today. She appeared as a judge on America’s Next Top Model.

+ WATCH ALEK WEK

MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: REBECCA AND TYRA TALK FASHION

rebecca romijn tyra banks

Rebecca Romijn and model Tyra Banks talk about the year in fashion in 1997.
Photo: MTV

New host Rebecca Romijn drives around L.A. in a convertible and talks style with Tyra Banks. They wear matching blue sweaters and discuss trends and what it’s like to shop for clothes. Tyra is obviously a media mogul now, and Rebecca has gone onto a successful acting career (a transition attempted by many and achieved by few), but it’s interesting that they cut unorthodox figures in the industry because they skew a little mainstream for hardcore fashion fans. They talk about how asymmetrical silhouettes and sheer clothes don’t work on girls with big boobs, and they talk about how relieved they are that glamour has returned to upstage the waif. It's a good time in media since curvier, more commercially sexy models like Trya and Rebecca could get exposure on a new genre of magazine: The ’90s were the boom time for the “lad mag,” like Maxim, Stuff and FHM. Models had options outside women’s fashion magazines, and were no longer relegated to other extremes like Playboy, or to themed editions like Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

+ WATCH REBECCA ROMIJN AND TYRA BANKS

DEMYSTIFYING FASHION: RIP GIANNI VERSACE

gianni versace

Cindy Crawford tributes designer Gianni Versace after his death in 1997.
Photo: MTV

At the 1997 VMAs, we commemorated a great many untimely deaths: In the same year, we lost Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur and Princess Diana. In fashion, the death of Gianni Versace was devastating. The designer was at the peak of his career. He was showing 10 different collections annually and had just released his AW 1997 Couture collection, a triumphant culmination of the motifs and technique he had mastered over the previous eight years. He was a significant figure in marrying music and fashion, enlisting famous friends like Madonna and Elton John in print campaigns. He designed performance costumes for Elton John’s world tour, and was the first to invite celebrities to sit front row amongst the buyers, editors and other fashion-industry insiders at his shows.

Gianni’s muse and sister, Donatella Versace, didn’t skip a beat despite her tragic loss, designing for the house beginning in SS 1998; she has since grown the company into a global empire during a challenging economic climate. Gianni’s final collection is a marvel. It’s incredible because watching it now confirms just how brilliant, influential and prescient the designer was. This NY Times article by Amy M. Spindler charts the designer’s arc and breaks down how the Versace aesthetic evolved from garish “happy hooker” excess, and how time has transformed elements — like bondage, brash patterns and hardware — that had seemed lurid and lewd at the time into classic themes.

It’s definitely a more severe collection. There are solid color stories in black and gold. At first glance, it looks pared down, but it’s not. Instead of relying on creating the illusion of movement with the interplay of prints, the designer builds outward, and the topography is revelatory: graceful sculpted shoulders, stuffed tubular straps and heavy, fluid fabric draped and gathered into precise ripples. The models are goddesses. There is no flounce — just delicate mesh chain mail, stark leather panels, floor-skimming hems and the sumptuous heft of very expensive fabric.

It’s been fifteen years since Gianni passed, and it seems that Donatella has finally come to some peace. For AW 2012, the designer returned to her brother’s final collection, and used crosses and mesh in the new season as a tribute. She is also showing the couture collection at the Ritz Hotel in Paris for the first time since Gianni died.

The designer’s legacy lives on in popular culture: We recently saw pieces from his final collection in Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” music video, proof that Versace continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

+ WATCH THE GIANNI VERSACE TRIBUTE

+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 63

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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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