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kurt loder

MTV News anchor Kurt Loder gets a 'House of Style' makeover from designer John Bartlett in 1995.
Photo: MTV

Season: 7 Episode: 43
Title: Fall Edition
Original Airdate: 10/16/95
Appearances: Kurt Loder, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, John Bartlett, Kate Moss, Chris Farley, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Scott Wolf, Oprah Winfrey, Naughty by Nature

DEMOCRATIZING FASHION: KURT LODER'S MAKEOVER

Giving MTV’s baritone news authority, Kurt Loder, a makeover sounds innocent and straightforward enough, but this piece rules ups the ante because the designers show up to do the styling themselves. House of Style has gotten popular enough on its own merit that we no longer go onto the field to visit with designers in their natural habitats in order to create a documentary-feel to the story. We rarely see Loder in this light, so that’s fun, but the takeaway is that designers—Tommy Hilfiger, Betsey Johnson, and John Bartlett—are asked to present their collections and their personalities. Not only are they being judged on the merits of their clothes, but their eponymous brands need to convey character as well. It introduces a competitive aspect that makes this a significant precursor to industry-specific reality TV. This is Project Runway being born, not to mention the fashion-acting double threat (Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, Lauren Conrad, Whitney Port). Kurt Loder dressed in Betsey Johnson faux fur coats is entertaining for sure, and who doesn’t love the maxi-madras print of a John Bartlett suit? But this “treating Kurt Loder like a paper doll” gag means more to future trends in broadcast and transparency. Plus, Kurt Loder’s hair has never looked more amazing.

+ WATCH KURT LODER'S MAKEOVER


RISE OF THE SUPERMODEL: KATE MOSS ON HER BOOK, 'KATE'

kate moss

Model Kate Moss launches her book, 'Kate' in 1995.
Photo: MTV

It’s a huge deal that the locus of power shifted to allow an art book to be based on the popularity of the model and not the brand name of a photographer. Publishers are approaching models at the time this episode was produced, and Kate Moss’s book spans the past five years of her burgeoning career. In this segment, we show Kate walking around a room filled with her photographs, and some of her more notorious tabloid clippings. The wall display, which may have been arranged for a launch party, is interesting because it allows Kate Moss the model to talk about Kate the image with a greater sense of distance.

That fracturing of self is interesting. It’s akin to Helmut talking about his himself in the third person or when Beyoncé performs as Sasha Fierce. It’s subtle, but instead of asking models what their life philosophies are or how long things take at shows, we get an insight into the 19-year-old mind of a very young and very famous model through her own testimony about how she regards her face. She’s incredibly insightful and unguarded. Kate notes that photographers often don’t like to show her smiling, and that she loves seeing how her image changes according to the shot because she likes when she can’t recognize herself. “It’s not really me,” she says of the pages in her book. “They’re just images that the photographers portray me as.”

Kate seems well-adjusted despite her infamy and the heightened scrutiny from British papers (their press then being the equivalent to our tabloids and TMZ now), and doesn’t seem to feel any real ownership of the version of herself being portrayed by Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh and Nick Knight. “They don’t see who you are,” she says. “The more visible they make you, the more invisible the true you is.”

+ WATCH KATE MOSS' BOOK


FAMOUS PEOPLE GET IMPATIENT WITH FLEA MARKET QUESTIONS

jean claude van damme

Actor Jean Claude Van Damme and Darcy LaPier share their favorite flea market find in 1995.
Photo: MTV

This is awesome because it’s a classic case of hitting a press line for an event with a question that famous people are not remotely interested in answering. We’ve included the clip here mostly so you can see a young Scott Wolf, as well as Bruce Willis and Demi Moore as a couple. The question is: What’s the last thing you got at a flea market? It serves as an interesting litmus test for how much patience people have and what they think of MTV. Chris Farley asks us “what we’re on.” Jean Claude Van Damme tells us it’s a stupid question. Alice Cooper, Little Richard and Oprah, on the other hand, are extremely patient and professional.

+ WATCH CELEBRITY FLEA MARKET FINDS


MUSIC AND FASHION: SHOPPING IN JERSEY WITH NAUGHTY BY NATURE

naughty by nature

Shopping with Treach of Naughty by Nature in Newark, New Jersey in 1995.
Photo: MTV

We hit up Newark with East Orange’s finest, Treach and Vin Rock of Naughty By Nature. We visit their store, which sells their in-house line, Naughty Gear. This is most like the Luscious Jackson shopping segment in that we get to check out stores the rappers would normally spend time in. They give us advice on how to layer oversized clothing, and it’s all very sincere and servicey, but the best part has to be when Vin and Treach call out local designers — including April Walker of Walker Wear, and Brother Mac One, who has an airbrushed T-shirt atelier.

Most of America may only know the group as a one- or two-hit wonder, but these guys made a huge impact within the rap community (seriously, see how often Treach’s name comes up as rappers’ top rappers), so for Treach and Vinnie to extol the virtues of returning to your neighborhood to promote local business is a huge deal. “When it came time for us to put up a business,” says Vin, “we wanted to start in here, back in the hood. Hopefully, it can encourage other people around the way to put their business here.”

It’s an earnest, credible gesture, so it’s no surprise that they would want to show off their neighborhood to MTV viewers. We go to a shoe store, where the two buy boots, and then we even go to their local hardware store to get a real-life length of industrial chain and a padlock. These guys weren’t about wearing diamond flooded necklaces; they wore chains and brought House of Style along with them to Jersey Janitorial Supplies to prove it. The chains and the padlock pendant signify that their thoughts are with those doing time in jail.

+ WATCH NAUGHTY BY NATURE GOES SHOPPING


+ CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS FROM EPISODE 43

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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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House Of Style

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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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