Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine could possibly be the two most feared women on TV but their straight to the point advice has won them the respect of the majority of the female population. Now having taken their brand of brutal honesty stateside, produced best selling books and an award winning TV series, the Queens of the Magic Knickers are turning their hand to designing.Female First catches up with Trinny and Susannah to talk about their new clothes range, styling the nation and their obsession with breasts.
What made you decide to produce your own range with Littlewoods?
Trinny: When we started to work with Littlewoods as the face of the company and they asked if we would like to do a range and we've always wanted to do a range. Littlewoods was perfect because they sell online and in a catalogue so there's no competition with the high street and they were open to our ideas and suggestions which we love.
We've always wanted to do clothes for women where they feel good about their shape when they put them on. So some of them you can dress up and they make you feel very fashionable this season, like our leopard print dress, but they're really designed so that our black coat will give you a waist, our trousers will hide your saddle bags, our cashmere makes your tits look great.
It's not a Kate Moss at TopShop directional cheap fashion. It's pieces in your wardrobe that make you feel better about your body. You can ever dress it up and look fashionable if you're a young hip girl or classic if you don't follow fashion so much.
How much involvement did you have with the design?
T: Totally. It's all our design. Down to the buttons and the fabrics and how they look. Littlewoods expertise came in with how much they cost, how much they sell for.
Susannah:And things like which colour schemes are most popular.
T:They know their customer base well and know what they like. It's very much tailored to the Littlewoods customer and we've also added an aspirational element that will hopefully bring in new customers for them. We are far too controlling to let anyone else come anywhere near anything we do.Have you or would you wear the clothes from the range?
S: We're sitting here wearing them now.
T: We've only obviously designed things that we also love. Susannah is already too much of a scrooge so for her it's the chance to get a totally free wardrobe so she'd said she's not going to buy anything this season. Belts yes, scarves yes, accessories and tights yes but that's where it ends. What else are you up to?
T: We've got a book coming out this week that is called The Body Shape Bible. In our other books we focus a lot on all the things we knew women hated so big tits, big arms, big saddle bags, kankles and we would do wrong and right for each body defect and it worked very well. But over the years we've had women say if I have big boobs and saddlebags I can't work out what to wear so earlier this year we did a survey and we asked women if you can choose from these shapes what would you say you are.
We really thought what are the shapes of women so for the book we fine tuned it down to the 12 most popular ones and it's really like a medial dictionary of like if you buy a skirt what shape will make you look thinner, will reproportion your body, will give you the confidence about how you are shaped without having to go on a crash diet to change it. The mantra is forget your size discover your shape and transform yourself.What sorts of shapes are in the book then?
T: We have a cornet, an hourglass, a vase, a pencil, a pear, a brick, a cello, a lollipop. A cello for instance- your shoulders are broad, your boobs are big and your buttocks and thighs are in a class of their own. So this is all woman we're talking about. This is a beautifully honed cello.
We have an apple- an apple by definition is round but her boobs might be smaller than her stomach as she carries all the weight around the middle. She very often has good ankles and will very often have amazing wrists and good skin and it's all about showing that off. And we also have famous apples that can inspire you. So we have realistic icons not ones that have no flesh on them what so ever. Kathy Bates can look unbelievably amazing, Beth Ditto is another example of an apple- she's very cool and has become kind of iconic in her style status. It's all about reproportioning the body to create the perfect form. What's your new TV show, Undress the Nation, all about?
T: We're going on from what we were doing in Undress. We've always done a make over of a specific person for the show but a lot of the same issues come up so we decided to tackle the actual issues and we've made one show for each issue.
A big issue for us- as I'm sure you know- is breasts and how women don't respect their breasts, or ignore their breasts or just don't do them justice so it's really a quest for us to discover how women feel about their breasts and how we can help them to treat them in the best way possible. Part of the journey was we got a thousand women from a town in England to get remeasured and we found a vast quantity of them are in the wrong shaped bra. Susannah goes on a mission to find the perfect bra and she meets a professor from Loughborough University who specialises in bra sizes and breasts. I wear some prosthetic breasts for the day which I have attached to me so they really look like I have tits Susannah's size to see how it really feels to be her size.
Another show is age so we look at when you are in your 70s and 80s how invisible you feel or you become. So Susannah becomes an old person and gets prosthetically changed and spends the day as an old person. Her experiences and how she feels made us go on a quest to get 100 ladies from Worthing and take them to bombard Oxford Street. So we take them on mass- safety in numbers- to New Look, TopShop and Oasis and make them buy outfits. They are in their 70s and 80s and it's really for them to say it's till important to make an effort still. Ok so you are older and you can relax sometimes but don't let it ok totally. Also make it fun.
You've also been quite successful in America. How does the US sense of style differ from the UK?
S: It doesn't really. The Americans are slightly less adventurous than we are. You would never get a Beth Ditto walking around the street in America. But generally speaking women all over the world are all the same. They have the same insecurities, they have the same issues, there's the same peer pressure and the same kind of obsession with celebrity so there really isn't much difference at all. I think maybe the American women are more open to change and slightly more receptive victims but in terms of how they dress there really isn't that much difference.
Do you ever criticise each others dress sense?
S: All the time. We never fall out about it though.
Trinny and Susannahs range for Littlewoods Direct is available at The Body Shape Bible (Weidenfeld & Nicolson £20) is out now. Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation starts later this year.
Caz Moss- Female First