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House of Style
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that House of Style is an infotainment show featuring segments relating to fashion that vary widely in content and appropriateness. Many segments are innocuous looks at particular designers or trends. Others are more questionable, with musicians gyrating in transparent clothing or slipping into and out of bikinis. Some celebrities drink or smoke onscreen, and refer to drugs obliquely, as by wearing clothing featuring marijuana leaves. There is some cursing: "ass," "bitch," but usually used in jest rather as a personal insult. No nudity is shown, but many fashions partially reveal breasts or buttocks, and scantily clad women are frequently onscreen. Models, particularly "supermodels," are venerated on House of Style, which may set up unrealistic expectations about looks, particularly for teens.
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What's the story?
Groundbreaking MTV infotainment series HOUSE OF STYLE ran for 11 years on the network starting in 1989, with a melange of hosts (Cindy Crawford, Rebecca Romjin) narrating and introducing segments that run the gamut of fashion, from personal style to interviews with famous designers. Many episodes took on a particular theme, say, the new crop of fashion magazines popping up in the late '80s, or a look at the runway shows of 1994. Other episodes were just loose collections of segments on different topics related to fashion. Many now-popular fashion celebrities appeared on House of Style when their career was in its infancy, such as Todd Oldham (who hosted segments showing readers how to transform old garments and furniture into fashionable new items), Anna Sui, and Isaac Mizrahi. Young musicians spotlighted in looks at their personal style include the Beastie Boys, Destiny's Child with a baby-faced Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake while he was still in 'N Sync. Though the segments vary widely in content, all are distinguished by quick camera cuts, a lot of use of wavering handheld camera, and a focus on what looks good, or, at least, what looked good to an audience in the 1990s.
Is it any good?
For kids and adults who love Project Runway or fashion blogs of today, House of Style is a very cool blast from the past. One might expect that an MTV style show would be bubbleheaded and twee; instead, House of Style was wide-ranging and curious, looking into everything from clip-on ties to fashion on the snowboarding slopes. Though some of the fashions spotlighted haven't worn well, the sheer breadth of what House of Style covered gives it a vitality that has aged beautifully.
Fashionistas will love seeing much younger versions of squeal-worthy modern fashion celebs. Look, little Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs! Teens may giggle a little at the crazy stuff Mom and Dad used to wear to the clubs, but those interested in fashion will be fascinated at behind-the-scene looks at designers and fashion scenes, like the 1990's rise of Japanese harjuku style. However, parents may want to talk to their kids about valuing what's inside a person as well as what the outside looks like, and the danger of liking people just because they're good-looking. "Pretty is as pretty does" should cover it, then you can get back to watching this fascinating series together and drooling over all the outfits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's "super" about a supermodel, as the term is used on House of Style. Does it just mean a model who works a lot? Why would one category of model be given a term that sets her apart from others who wear clothing for a living? Are models ever super, or just genetically lucky?
When House of Style aired in the 1990s, MTV was primarily known as a music channel. Why would a music channel create programming about fashion?
House of Style presents many images of people considered incredibly attractive. Do you feel less or more attractive after watching? How would your life be different if you never saw images of people with "ideal" looks? Is it harmful to compare oneself to the people shown on House of Style?
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