MTV News anchor Kurt Loder gets a ’House of Style’ makeover from designer John Bartlett in 1995.
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’
Model Kate Moss launches her book, ’Kate’ in 1995.
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
Actor Jean Claude Van Damme and Darcy LaPier share their favorite flea market find in 1995.
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
Shopping with Treach of Naughty by Nature in Newark, New Jersey in 1995.
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