Cindy Crawford and 'Harper's Bazaar' Fashion Editor Evyan Metzner at Paris Fashion Week in 1993.
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
DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY BECOMES AN EDITOR
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.
+ WATCH CINDY CRAWFORD AS AN EDITOR
MODELS, THE NEXT GENERATION: AMBER VALLETTA
Model Amber Valletta in 1993.
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.
+ WATCH AMBER VALLETTA
DEMISTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: TODD OLDHAM INTERVIEWS ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO
'House of Style' correspondent Todd Oldham interviews designer John Galliano in 1993.
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.
+ WATCH TODD OLDHAM WITH ANDRE WALKER AND JOHN GALLIANO
DEMYSTIFYING THE FASHION INDUSTRY: CINDY’S ITALIAN 'VOGUE' SHOOT WITH MAX VADUKUL
Photographer Max Vadukul shoots Cindy Crawford for Italian 'Vogue' in 1993.
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.
+ WATCH MAX VADUKUL AND CINDY CRAWFORD