Trinny and Susannah: India has the most beautiful traditional costumes in the world!

Trinny and Susannah chat about their forthcoming India trip with British journalist Ashanti Omkar

Ashanti Omkar (AO) : How did T&S come together as a fashion team?

Trinny and Susannah (T&S): We met 17 years ago. Our first Job working as a team was writing a fashion column for The Daily Telegraph, where we highlighted real fashion for real women. The focus was on affordable clothes that would look good on all women, no matter what their size or age.

AO: The focus on India is quite a new addition to their stellar work – share with us how this connection came about?

T&S: Having made the Mission shows in 8 different countries around the world, we were approached by TLC to do the same in India. The audience on TLC was familiar with What Not to Wear that we made with BBC and Dress the Nation, for ITV.

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AO: Had you been interested in Bollywood, one of India’s biggest exports, to the world?

T&S: Of course we were aware of the fabulous glamour that is synonymous with Bollywood and we wanted to transfer some of that to the real women of India.

AO: Any Bollywood designers you work with or are keen to work with?

T&S: We attended India Fashion week and met a host of wonderful designers. We were blown away by the beauty of the textiles they used and their ability to incorporate traditional Indian costumes with contemporary designs.

AO: In terms of Indian apparel, what do you think is most figure flattering?

T&S: The sari is unbeatable. We think it is the one look the flatters all women. We were lucky enough to wear a few and have never felt more feminine!

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AO: The idea of your ‘magic knickers’ took the world by storm – do you see it as a big seller in India and how does it fit in with traditional Indian clothing, like the sari?

T&S: Good question!! We found that in terms of Indian women’s body shape, they were predominantly bottom heavy. This fact makes our Original Magic Knickers ideal for keeping tummies, bums and thighs under control! The Shalwar Kameez, hides a multitude of sins but it is still empowering for a woman to feel toned underneath. As for the sari, as long as the tummy was covered we could work with our All-in-One body shaper and smoother. The Shape Up Shorty provided the solution for those ladies happy to show their mid-riff but still wanted a flat tummy and pert bottom!

AO: Tell us about what exactly you will do in India and why the spotlight is on YOU right now.

T&S: Our new series is out shortly. We dressed all types of wonderful women of different sizes, ages and a variety of insecurities. In doing so we hope that viewers will always find someone or something they identify with.

AO: Share with us your experiences with Asians of the diaspora and how they have embraced your style tips?

T&S: The ladies and gentlemen we worked with were hungry and ready for change. We had the challenge of fusing East and Western styles. Ironically, for a country that is awash with color, most of the people we worked with wore black! That we hope, is something we have started to get rid of.

AO: You’ve spent quite a bit of time with Oprah and she loves Indian clothes, especially saris – share your favorite experience with her, with us.

T&S: Every time we worked with Oprah was a huge moment for us. She is a living legend after all! It was amazing to witness the love her live audience has for her and for us to shine a tiny bit in her stellar light. Whilst we never met her off set, she always made us feel like we were life long friends and put us at our ease.

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AO: When it comes to fashion advice, you are the ladies to listen to – what is the most simple piece of advice that everyone can embrace, that you can share with our readers?

T&S: Get a good bra fitting. Our boobs change size throughout our life and a well-fitted bra does wonders for a woman’s shape.

AO: India has embraced magazines like Vogue and Maxim with gusto – will we be reading you in these anytime soon? Or in an Indian national newspaper, like we do in the UK?

T&S: We came over in August and did over 80 interviews. Hopefully the second series will do even better so that we get requests to do more.

AO: When it comes to makeovers, you are the experts – what is more important, style or make-up?

T&S: Definitely style and dressing for your body shape. In terms of make up, like bras, it’s important to re-evaluate your skin tone and texture. As we get older and the wrinkles begin to appear, it is best to go with less powdery products and more cream based ones. Lip-gloss as opposed to lipstick. Cream blush as opposed to powder blush.

AO: On your travels around the world, what key fashion ideas have you gleaned, that unify nations, from your observations?

T&S: It very much depends on where we are. The Scandinavians are unified by big bulky puffa jackets, as it’s very cold in winter, but there other ways of keeping warm. In Australia, the women have formed a deep bond with cropped linen trousers that crease and make a ladies leg look short and dumpy. In India, it was the epidemic use of black. However, in all countries, we found that women are bonded by their insecurities. They all lacked confidence and had no time. It is our mission to give women permission to stand out and spend time for themselves.

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AO: Who is YOUR individual favorite designer?

Susannah: Alexander McQueen

Trinny: Celine

AO: Have you met and mingled with Bollywood stars and who has caught your attention as being the ultimate fashionista – male and female?

T&S: Unfortunately we had no time. We would adore to come back and have the pleasure of meeting some of your Bollywood stars.

AO: India is changing, in terms of fashion, especially in urban areas – do you feel that the traditional clothing is being lost along the way? Or do you think it is a nice balance that is being met right now?

T&S: There seemed to be a real balance. India has the most beautiful traditional costume in the world. It would be a travesty if that were lost.

AO: What would you say is the secret to your team spirit and success?

T&S: The secret is without doubt our friendship that has endured 17 years. We are total opposites in every way. Susannah lives in the country. Trinny lives in the city. Trinny is the accelerator, Susannah the break. But we love each other to death do us part! We also adore what we do and feel so privileged to have been invited to your beautiful country.

AO: What is your take on Indian sensibilities in the world of fashion and how tough/easy has it been to adapt to this, as a lot of these ideas hail from ancient history…

T&S: Everything happens slowly and with no plan. But it always gets done and done beautifully.

AO: As inspirational women, what would you like to tell your fans?

T&S: We love your country and want to come back to make more shows ASAP!

By Ashanti Omkar