House Of Style: Episode 13

walk like a runway model

A participant walks like a runway model at a New Jersey mall in 1992.
Photo: MTV

Season: 4 Episode: 13

Title: Winter '92

Original Airdate: 2/26/92

Appearances: Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Iman


Unfurling a length of red carpet on the main floor of the Garden State Plaza Mall to teach shoppers how to “Walk Like a Supermodel” seems hokey, but you have to remember that this was back when girls were getting ripped off by fake modeling classes and sham photographers offering to take your head-shots for hundreds of dollars. It also predates the thousands of instructional videos and years of runway footage that we all now have at our fingertips on YouTube and happily take for granted. I’m not saying that this segment would’ve incited a quickening of spirit to the extent that some kid from Bumblefudgeville would have seen this and immediately thought, “Hey, wait a second, I can do that!” and then grow up to be Coco Rocha. I’m just saying that, were you thinking of pursuing modeling, it might be nice to hear the poised and gorgeous Christy Turlington talk about how angry she looked when she walked because she was nervous. Plus, there’s this great moment where you get to see how Naomi switches up her style each season, starting back when she was a wee n00b. We also get a priceless sit-down with the incomparable Iman, who has no idea what “learning to walk” implies. It’s a non-issue for her, because it’s all in the “presence.” Cue footage of Iman positively gliding down the runway in billowing Calvin Klein. It’s true: some people are born with it. Others are clearly space-alien paragons of perfection grown from spores and sent to marry other such stunning creatures named David Bowie. The rest of us have to learn in a mall.

Hitting the marble floor of a Jersey shopping center is just one of many ways in which Cindy Crawford shows she’s a mensch. Not only does she twirl and personably teach a bunch of random normalfolk how to do what she does, she even brings out Ellen Harth, President of Elite Runway, for further instruction. There are a pile of heels, a kid who’s a dead ringer for a young Eric Stoltz and even a darling proto-Glambert punk rock kid with a grip of wallet chains, who sells the bejesus out of his leather jacket by mimicking CC, and flinging it over his shoulders on his twirl. (Cindy is wearing a moto jacket, too. Though hers is much fancier. Naturally.)


Walk Like A Supermodel | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style


colored denim

Colored denim for men by Moschino Jeans in 1992.
Photo: MTV

A piece on colored denim is the series’s first segment targeted towards men, and it does a surprising amount of heavy lifting. First of all, it cements the show as a fashion authority by granting dudes permission to wear something as adventurous as dyed jeans. It’s a fairly big deal considering how everyone wore pale blue dad jeans and faded black jeans at the time. I equate it to that moment when kids who listened to rap or skated understood that they had the go-ahead to wear tight pants despite the initial derision they'd experience. The styling is fantastic. Even though the models are very model-ish, with very model-looking hair and hyper-expressive mannerisms that make Delia’s catalog girls look natural (I have no idea why they are eating pie with their hands at the store), but the segment is laudable for its instructional elements. It basically teaches you how to style a bunch of looks. Some are great and some are comedy gold.

First of all, you have a Canadian Tuxedo (denim jacket plus jeans, a.k.a. a Texas Tux) with denim in two different, hyper-saturated colors. Then you have overalls that are fitted and cuffed, with boots and a printed button-up shirt (cloud print is huge at this point) that feels very Trad skinhead (not the racist kind). Then, you’ve got Cross Colours, which evokes all the very best memories, from TLC’s “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” video to “What About Your Friends” and those ads from Dr. Dre and Snoop, many of which you can revisit on Tumblr. Sure, again, that one model guy in the shoot looks awkward, but Carl Jones, designer for Cross Colours, puts it beautifully: “Colored denim is something new. Clothing without prejudice. It also means colors without prejudice, to show something new and to excite men about fashion. We try to design in a way where, if a kid has $20, he could afford something.” This is why absolutely everyone (and their dads) owned a CC baseball cap, but it also allowed men to peacock with the comfort of a silhouette they already owned and a brand that was cosigned by the music industry. And then to show the trends as interpreted by the high-fashion brands, we go into Versace denim for the skinny fit, the op art swirls, the Betty Boop print and all the other detailing that I would pillage all of eBay for.


Colored Denim | 'House Of Style' Collection On MTV Style


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