Once upon a time, in a world better than this one, there was a show so mind-blowingly good, it could have only existed in the late '80s/early '90s. Hosted (for six years) by Cindy Crawford and featuring such fashion gems like John Paul Gaultier's short-lived music career and '90s-era harajuku from Tokyo, House of Style helped propel the careers of models like Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen, plus turned designers like Betsey Johnson (a show fave), Patricia Field, Pam Hogg, and Franco Moschino into household names and ran candid interviews with Versace, André Leon Talley, and Karl Lagerfeld. Basically, it is a mind-bending explosion of delicious fashion nuggets, proving that MTV had its pop-culture druthers in serious order. (For instance, a '94 episode features a young Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze hanging out in New York.)
Because of the amalgamation of old music, rights, and clearance issues, MTV has been sitting on this fashion gold mine until today, when suddenly the entire fash-geek world was barraged with about 170 clips of style legend (pronounced leh-gend) — including a pre-weight-loss Lagerfeld and Todd Oldham dyeing his hair with Kool-Aid. We asked MTV Style's senior editor (and fashion encyclopedia/exclamation-point enthusiast) Mary H.K. Choi about what sorts of things we should pick through to see, and she revealed some major info. Prepare for your day to be wasted:
"So, basically, yup, House of Style is BACK. We're developing a new show but obviously that meant we had to excavate a bunch of the classic footage, so we could decode what it was about the original DNA that made it so special. It's sorta like in Jurassic Park with the mosquito trapped in amber.
That show resonated with a lot of people but it happened so long ago and DOES NOT LIVE ANYWHERE ON THE INTERWEBS, so we knew we had to bring back old episodes so that people would have a frame of reference ... We're calling it the 'House of Style Collection' because it sounds fancy and classy and because that's how fashion was back then.
We're releasing footage from 70-odd episodes, which comes out to over 150 clips and a majillion still images. Like, we've got interviews with Gianni Versace, Alexander McQueen, CUHLASSIC Galliano circa when he first melted faces at Dior, and we basically stalk all the supermodels who let our cameras follow them around while they exfoliated and put zit cream on [Ed. Note: Specifically, a very scary Naomi Campbell]. I did write-ups around the clips so people would know what was going on in the fashion world at the time for context, but this wasn't just about making self-indulgent nostalgia rabbit holes for The Olds — we really are trying to build something new.
We've got a documentary short coming out on August 7, which is just the ultimate time capsule (we're talking interviews with Todd Oldham, Anna Sui, and Cindy Crawford and a bunch of other people) about the first run of episodes that started in 1989, and then it's about shooting the new stuff. We're unbelievably stoked. Over the next few weeks, we're releasing a bunch of unedited, never-before-seen footage. There are these insanely candid interviews, and you can hear all the sound and hear everyone's un-messed-with quotes, and people were a lot less media-trained back then since the entire world wasn't a 24/7/365 reality show, so people (think Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour) lay truth bombs. It's great."
Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld truth bombs sound fantastic, but, guys: Sit through an episode of shopping with the Spice Girls and hanging out with Foo Fighter's Pat Smear without screaming. Because our throats are way raw.
Photo: Courtesy of MTV