The Austin Chronicle

Fashion (Turn to the Left)

TV Eye

By Margaret Moser, October 24, 1997, Screens

The Rolling Stones on VH-1

Ridden with guilt, I looked at my recent VH1-happy column. Had I been a wee bit too gushy over a network that unabashedly plays too many Mariah Carey videos and keeps Suzanne Somers in work on 8-Track Flashback? My ears burned with shame as Weezer chided me ("I don't see it that way at all," he grumped) and I tried to watch more MTV as an antidote.

Unfortunately, MTV was no help. Except for getting to see a lot of Daria and Beavis and Butt-head, a surprise rerun of The Real World2 (See "Screens") where I got to see Dominic Griffin before I knew him, and that Smash Mouth video enough times to sate my infatuation with the poppy little tune, it's hard to find good videos on MTV. (I did try watching the Austin Music Network last Sunday night but uh... I guess there were some, er, audio difficulties? What was going on there?) I went back to VH1.

Gads, but there's a lot of Fleetwood Mac on VH1 these days, which, I suppose, gives it the old fart image Weezer has of it. Well, okay, but if I get too bored with seeing Sugar Ray on MTV, at least I know the Rolling Stones will be on soon – they are currently being played as much as Fleetwood Mac. The Stones are the headline act, in fact, for one of the most recent entries into the Stupid Awards Shows category (and believe me, I know my awards shows), the 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards(VH1; 10/28; 8pm).

Now, forgive me for being just a little arch here but Fashion Awards??? Does VH1 really need to be awarding Womenswear Designer of the Year? Does even a reasonable part of the audience know what a "second collection" is? I can maybe see Most Stylish Music Video but Female Model of the Year? Even more specious, Best Personal Style?? Isn't this faux-grafting of fashion onto music stretching the bounds of both by creating a "Frock 'N' Rock Award"? Is there anything at all relevant about Kate Moss in rock & roll?

Hard to say. While MTV trotted out thirtyish Cindy Crawford to lead their teen audience into the disjointed House of Style, MTV more often seems to be staking its claim with its audience by focusing on sports. VH1, on the other hand, has been playing footsie with the fashion world in myriad ways, and viewers will see most of them on VH1's line-up around their Fashion Awards this Tuesday night.

But don't wait 'til the sun goes down! Start your day bright and early with the 1997 Fashion Awards Nominee Special (10am), sure to contain lots of woo-hooing about supermodels and boo-hooing about Gianni Versace. After that, The RuPaul Show (11am) features fashion model Marcus Schenkenberg and photographer David La Chapelle as well as a fashion show from Patricia Fields, plus all that dishy talk from the irrepressible RuPaul. Lest you forget the band around whom the evening's entertainment is being lavished, Pop-Up Videos (11:30am) reruns its Rolling Stones segment – look for all the translations of "ham" when Jagger's face pops up. Also, look for "Start Me Up," "Going to a Go-Go," "Undercover of the Night," "Love is Strong," and "Has Anybody Seen My Baby?"

Model Mania '97, anyone? FTV, VH1's own fashion program (11:30am), reviews the year's "most interesting and sexy women on the planet." Right, meaning we're gonna see a bunch of bony waifs bleating about how much they care for the planet and are doing their part to end world hunger by giving up their portions of food. Thank heaven the Top Ten Countdown (1pm) follows. The videos may suck in general but at least you won't have to think.

Fashion Shows Inside Out (2pm) is a chirpy title for an hour-long behind-the-scenes look at fashion collections from the planning stages to the runway. Pretty much snoresville except for the part about the politics of getting celebrity faces to the shows and all the jockeying for attention that goes on. More intimate looks at various personalities in the field of fashion on The Best of FT (3pm), with fashion gurus John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacob. This is an updated version of the show formerly known as Fashion Television. A repeat of the 1997 Fashion Awards Nominee Special (4pm) is up next, then something that should be a hoot, the 1996 VH1 Fashion Awards (Pop-Up Version). Look for highlights of last year's award show to include hostess Heather Locklear's "Fashion Maverick" skit, awards presentations, and live performances by Bryan Adams, Toni Braxton, and David Bowie, all rendered in Pop-Up Videos style. That leaves two hours before the actual ceremony begins, and for that, VH1 is offering up two back-to-back Behind The Music segments (6pm, 7pm); no information available at press time as to who is profiled.

One aspect of substance sure to be present at this years's 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards (8pm) will be the tribute to Gianni Versace, who was stabbed to death this summer. A free spirit who embraced the best of art and life and dedicated himself to making fashion fun as well as elegant, Versace's memory will doubtless provide the most heartfelt words of the night. As mentioned, the Rolling Stones, along with En Vogue, Jamiroquai, and Fiona Apple are scheduled to perform. Harry Connick, Jr. and Ashley Judd are the hosts for this year's show and have been camping it up for a couple of weeks in promotional spots. Look for lots of celeb presenters and guests, the caliber of whom will probably make many of us wonder what in the world Norm MacDonald has to do with fashion. The 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards repeats at 11pm.

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