Musician Dee Dee Ramone gets a makeover from designer Paul Smith in 1989.
Season: 1 Episode: 2
Title: Fall ’89
Original Airdate: 8/26/89
Appearances: Dee Dee Ramone, Paul Smith, Jean Paul Gaultier
MUSIC AND FASHION: DEE DEE RAMONE GETS A PAUL SMITH MAKEOVER
Much has changed in the decades following the second episode of HOS, particularly the number of talented people who have passed since 1989. Among them is Dee Dee Ramone, bassist for the iconoclastic punk rock band The Ramones, who in this clip gets a makeover courtesy of the designer Paul Smith. Spoiler: It is AMAZING.
The allure of juxtaposing the punk rock bassist with the buttoned-up British clothier is pretty obvious, but the degree to which Smith and Ramone enjoy each other’s company is a thrill. The segment begins with Dee Dee rolling out of bed, lighting a cigarette, drinking a Diet Coke and then rolling up to the Paul Smith flagship in mirrored aviator glasses, slicked-back hair, torn jeans and a heavily embellished vest with no shirt. It is crucial to note how hot he looks. Take a moment should you need to.
It’s a lovefest. Dee Dee makes a beeline for a jacket, strokes it and realizes that it’s cashmere. This acts as some sort of signal because from there on out, Smith and Ramone are turned out and besotted with each other. Smith, for all his pointed Englishness, is not a stuffed shirt and the peacock-ish pieces he selects for the Pygmalion-ing are right up Dee Dee’s alley.
Smith (who looks fantastic in a red shirt with impossibly long collar tips, and a yellow polka dotted tie tucked into the shirt as if he’s a banker dining in a restaurant or a waiter at an up-market steak house) chooses a vest adorned with framed portraits of Indian deities, a shawl-collar tuxedo that fits the bassist like a dream, especially when paired with a burlap Guatemalan cumberbund. An additional vest is festooned with printed pheasant feathers. Then there’s the pièce de resistance: a neon pink raincoat.
Honestly, it’s basically every girl’s Pretty Woman shopping-montage fantasy, except with two hardcore, grown dudes who quite clearly want to draw cartoon hearts and emoji faces all over each other.
+ WATCH DEE DEE RAMONE’S MAKEOVER
MUSIC AND FASHION: HIP-HOP STYLE
Dapper Dan in his store in 1989.
Hip-hop fashion in 1989 was marvelous and, given House of Style’s base of operation, very New York-centric. We start with a talking head piece featuring Monica Lynch, the president of Tommy Boy Records (then home to De La Soul, Digital Underground, Biz Markie, House of Pain, Naughty By Nature), Russell Simmons, DMC, Posdnous, Trugoy and Queen Latifah, but it also includes a brief interview with fashion designer Dapper Dan. As immortalized in rap lyrics like “Wear a G on my chest I don’t need Dapper Dan” by Jay-Z, Dapper Dan is not to be confused with the boss of the Minnesotan Irish mob, Dapper Danny Hogan. Though, to be fair, both were very fancy.
Dan ran an atelier in Harlem that was open 24 hours a day, and his bespoke suits, that featured allover Louis Vuitton or Gucci monograms play a major part on various Eric B. and Rakim album covers. Any time you see Justin Bieber in allover MCM, consider it a hat tip to Dan. Speaking of which, remember when JB bought GF Selena all those monogram purses, too? Monica Lynch nutshells it perfectly: “Whatever the kids in hip-hop are starting today is what middle America is going to be wearing tomorrow.” Apparently, it’s also what Canadian megastars will elect to wear over two decades later.
MUSIC AND FASHION: THE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR MERCHANDISING MACHINE
Rock ’n roll merchandising and big hair in 1989.
Back in the day, there were two behemoths in the multi-million-dollar music merch industry: Winterland and Brockum. “We’re kinda the Coca-Cola and Pepsi of the industry,” says Dell Furano, president of the West Coast-based Winterland. (Brockum was on the east.) Winterland peddled merch for Springsteen, Madonna and George Michael, while Brockum screen-printed tees for Guns ’N Roses, The Rolling Stones and Metallica.
We take a tour through both facilities, featuring cult collectibles like the “Metallican,” the Japan-only Metallica CD packaging that came in a can; and the Michael Jackson boxset book that was released when the King of Pop was at his prime. Roger Gorman, principal designer for the project, recalls what it was like to work on such a high-profile project: “I spent a day with [Michael Jackson], and we went through about 4,000 slides. He has a strong idea of what he wants in the book.” You couldn’t rely on the same degree of involvement for all the acts, Gorman tells us. “There are strange situations,” he says. “Sometimes you don’t like a lot of the work and all of it rests on the approval of one…band member’s girlfriend.”
Despite the secondary market potential for a vintage Sugarcubes tee, Winterland is now defunct. The company declared bankruptcy twice despite $105 million in sales in 1996. The Brockum Group is dunzo, too: The company was bought out and eventually dissolved by BMG.
+ WATCH ROCK N’ ROLL MERCHANDISING
MUSIC AND FASHION: JEAN PAUL GAULTIER’S SHORT-LIVED MUSIC CAREER
Jean Paul Gaultier’s music video, “How To Do That” in 1989.
At the end of this episode, we’re treated to a music video by French designer and “enfant terrible” Jean Paul Gaultier. His dance single, “How To Do That,” was released in 1989 on Fontana Records. It was then remixed as “Aow Tou Dou Zat” (amazing), which was subsequently released on Mercury. The video was directed by esteemed fashion photographer and videographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who famously directed Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” and would go on to direct “Manchild” by Neneh Cherry, “Justify My Love” by Madonna and Björk’s “Violently Happy.” There’s really not much else to say beyond “gold thimble manicure,” “CLASSIC JPG cage dress,” “curlicue 3D braids” and “cigarettes galore,” because you should just get into the images. For those interested in seeing the whole thing (and have the time and funds to travel), check out the extensive and incredible JPG exhibition in San Francisco’s de Young museum where they have this jam playing on a loop. It will melt your face straight off. Just, you know, do it before August 29.
+ WATCH JEAN PAUL GAULTIER: “HOW TO DO THAT”