Model and ’House Of Style’ host Cindy Crawford.
I can’t believe this is finally happening! House of Style is back! If your face is frozen in an enthusiastic smile but it’s otherwise *crickets* in your head because you have ZERO frame of reference, House of Style was a show on MTV that chronicled the fashion industry from 1989 to 2002 in 72 episodes. And holy crap if it didn’t just about break my brain to get to this incredible moment.
Thing is, when you work at MTV Style, the number one question you get is: “What’s up with House of Style?” The show was frickin’ legendary. I could watch it on a loop and it was actually what first enticed me to take a job here. All I wanted to talk about with my boss over multiple bottles of wine and exhaustive notes was how to bring it back. So yeah, we’re bringing it back.
We’re developing a new version of the show because we strongly believe that a show like ours can thrive in the current media climate but there was no way we would dream of developing something without understanding what made the original series so remarkable. We dove deep—really, really deep—into the archive so that we could learn. And also, to see what we could unearth to share with you since even the most ardent fans could use the reminder.
The House of Style excavation squad did our very best to reissue as many clips as we could. We tried to preserve everything of importance and that’s how we ended up with the approximately 170 clips that we’re launching today from the original series. You can browse by season and by name (designer, artist or host) to read my write-ups for each segment (yup, THIS is where I’ve been the last six months) contextualizing what was going on in the fashion world at the time or you can daisy-chain the videos (without my blathering).
Fashion Week with Naomi Campbell in 1992.
Look, we know that it may not be as satisfying as sitting down to binge-watch the entire thing to the dome, episodes intact, but have you ever noticed how there are, like, zero old episodes living anywhere on the internet? There are tiny smatterings here and there but for the most part the information superhighway is scrubbed clean because back in the late-‘80s and early-‘90s, pre-Internet, the rules were different. Had we put everything online now, with all the original music, we would surely unleash some sort of legal chaos.
We cleared absolutely everything we could but I didn’t know how this would go down. I honestly thought some dude in suspenders on the millionth floor could stamp a piece of paper with a big, red, “sure!” and all of the old episodes could be strung up and blasted into the internet with one of those T-shirt canons that they have at concerts and sporting events. This is because I am not a lawyer or a television producer.
Long story long, we did our best and it was pretty damned good and we’re thrilled to share these gems with you.
Liiiiiiiiike, going to the mall with The Spice Girls (I KNOW). There’s footage of a still husky Karl Lagerfeld (circa sunnies + fan) and a svelte Andre Leon Talley. We have artist Stephen Sprouse’s glorious and weird return to fashion. A rare interview with Franco Moschino, a sit-down with Galliano, quotables from Alexander McQueen and words of wisdom from Gianni Versace. We even have clips from the X-Girl renegade street fashion show that Sofia Coppola and then boyfriend Spike Jonze produced. So major.
Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze at the X-Girl fashion show in 1994.
Todd Oldham taught us how to dye our hair with Kool Aid in his ingenious “Todd Time” segments and Kevyn Aucoin instructed us on how to over-pluck our brows ‘90s style. Cindy becomes the face of Pepsi, Rebecca Romijn stuffs her bikini bottoms with socks, Jon Stewart tries to mack on Kate Moss backstage at Calvin Klein. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Naomi Campbell inviting us into her bedroom to watch her apply zit cream to her face. It’s unreal and sweet, especially since she tells us that nobody cares if you have “spots” because everybody has them. Can. You. EVEN?
We’re also running three essays that encapsulate themes from the show. “Rise Of The Supermodels” is our first. It launches today and discusses the ’90s in terms of what it was about the decade that made this mega-clique of powerful women transcend fashion to become pop culture icons. The second essay, which you’ll find next Wednesday (August 1st) is the influence of music on youth culture and street style (hello grunge), with the final essay that will launch a week after that discussing how fashion became democratized with the Internet, social networking and DIY instructional videos on YouTube. It’s a good read if you’re not interested in deep-diving into the more pedantic, nerd-out aspects of my write-ups.
We’ve also got a documentary short coming out on August 7th describing what the show was all about that includes interviews with former hosts Cindy Crawford, Daisy Fuentes, Rebecca Romijn; models Coco Rocha, Karlie Kloss; designers Cynthia Rowley, Todd Oldham, Anna Sui, Jeremy Scott and the next generation of fashion muses like Theophilus London, Azealia Banks and Rita Ora. You should totally check it out.
Designer and ’House Of Style’ correspondent Todd Oldham.
And, finally, you should know that there’s a trove of unedited, NEVER BEFORE SEEN, footage that we’ll be releasing over the next several weeks. Candid interviews with Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and Gianni Versace. You’re going to have to wait for that complete list but it’s wonderful because everyone is young and says exactly what’s on their mind, away from the prying eyes and teeth-sucking of celebrity handlers, managers, publicists and the ilk. Pure, unfiltered FASHION HONESTY.
However you choose to navigate the episodes, we hope you check out what we’ve brought you from MTV’s fashion time capsule. We’re calling it the “House of Style Collection” because it sounds fancy and would totally have a black label. If there’s anything you’d like to add or correct please feel free to email me because I’ve felt completely insane in this rabbit hole of remembrances and would love the dialogue. Turns out, top secret projects are crazy-making but very rewarding. Enjoy.