George Kotsiopoulos is a modern-day Pygmalion. Like the mythological sculptor, the openly gay Kotsiopoulos molds base materials into beings of refined beauty. His skills are regularly utilized as one of Joan Rivers’ co-hosts on E!’s Fashion Police, but now the style guru is expanding his sphere of aesthetics. Kotsiopoulos recently released his first book through Abrams Image, Glamorous By George, an illustrated guide to affordable fashion for all shapes, sizes and tax brackets. In honor of the publication, Kotsiopoulos took some time to gab with Instinct about the book and Fashion Police—and to school a certain starlet on hypocrisy.
Why is a show like Fashion Police important for the gay community?
I used to be shocked when big, burly straight men would come up to me at airports and say they are fans of the show. It turns out they watch with their girlfriends or wives and get hooked by the comedy (and looking at the pretty starlets doesn’t hurt either). I don’t know if this is “important” to the gay community, but as a gay man who talks about fashion—and not sports!—on a TV show, this is pretty cool.
What’s one thing you can tell us about Joan that we would never guess about her?
Joan is a lady. Do not be fooled by some of the words that come out of her mouth. She is the kindest, classiest woman I know.
What inspired you to write Glamorous By George?
It’s the highest compliment on Fashion Police when we say a woman looks like a “movie star,” so I just wanted to share my knowledge on what it takes to achieve this. Being glamorous is not just about the hair, makeup and clothing. It’s how you present yourself in every aspect of your life, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.
What’s the key to affordable fashion?
The key to affordable fashion is knowing what to buy and when. If you’re shopping fast fashion, look for quality in construction and fabric. I hate when people say, “Oh, that will just fall apart after washing,” because that’s just not true. If this was the case, then all of those stores would be out of business. If you want to invest in designer pieces, then shop like I do, in January and July, when everything is up to 70 percent off.
So why should every gay in America read your book?
It’s a common stereotype that all gay men have great taste. We know that’s not true. So if you are an aspiring gay BFF, then this book will arm you with the knowledge to make you the best gay BFF ever! But seriously, it’s not just about fashion. There are also great chapters on entertaining, home décor and etiquette that are applicable to everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
What are the major dos and don’ts of men’s fashion?
Do find a great tailor. Bad tailoring can make a $2,000 suit look like a $200 suit. On the flip side, great tailoring can make a $200 suit look like it cost $2,000. I could safely say that most of us want to be younger than we are, but at some point we need to retire our twentysomething looks. Unless you’re in your 40s like me and the ’90s come back in fashion again, then you can do it better the second time around.
What fashion trends should we be on the lookout for in 2014?
This spring, we will be seeing more loose tailoring and loads of floral prints. Sporty looks were a big influence on the runways, so I’m sure that will be translated into what we see on the streets. It’s a good time for men’s fashion because guys are having more fun with fashion and taking more risks.
Recently, actress Jennifer Lawrence said the following:
“We see this airbrushed perfect model image, and then if you don’t look like that, you just have to look past it. You look how you look. What are you going to do, be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb. Shows like the Fashion Police and things like that are just showing these generations of young people to judge people based on things [that don’t matter]. They’ve put values in all things that are wrong and [show] that it’s okay to just point at people and call them ugly and call them fat, and they call it fun.”
If you were one-on-one with Jennifer, how would you respond to her statement?
Wow. It’s interesting that not too long ago, we had you [Jennifer] on camera saying how much you love Joan Rivers and Fashion Police, so I’m very confused as to why you had a sudden change of heart. I’m actually honored that you even lumped us in this category, because it means our show is popular, but it’s ridiculous to put the blame so heavily on us. The fashion industry, beauty and entertainment industries are all equally to blame by presenting false images of what real women actually look like. But you are always 100 percent natural, right? So it must be written into your contract with Dior that you are not to be retouched in their ad campaigns. Every time you are on the cover of a magazine, they are not allowed to retouch you? Are you not lit by the best cinematographers in the world in your films? Did you go to a store and buy those clothes you’re wearing or did your stylist send them to you? Or was it from the truckloads of free fashion sent to you? When you step on a red carpet, do you do your own hair and makeup? You just did some jumping jacks to get in shape to be naked and blue for X-Men, right? The studio didn’t pay for a trainer and nutritionist to help. You just did it yourself naturally, like every other regular gal in the world? Saying “You look how you look” is so beyond hypocritical and insulting to the women of the world when even you don’t look the way you look. For a smart girl, you say some pretty confusing things.
Glamorous By George is in stores now. For all that’s fashionable and fab, follow George on Twitter at @GeorgeKotsi