Vicky Pepys looks at the indomitable rise of Trinny and Susannah.
TRINNY and Susannah are the pair who’ve taken it upon themselves to teach us what to wear through whatever media channels they can muster.
They are not only on ITV1, with a new series starting this Wednesday at 8pm, but they’re within our lingerie departments with their “expanding” Magic undergarment range, within Littlewoods Direct with their own fashion collection, online with their own website and now in town this Thursday promoting and signing their The Body Shape Bible at WH Smith in Newcastle.
The Body Shape Bible concentrates on something we’ve always known, but it’s taken this pair to articulate it cleverly in an attractive format; that it’s our body shape that determines what kind of garments we should aim for on the fashion rails, rather than our size.
There are 12 easily identifiable shapes like brick, apple, column, lollipop, cello… and what we’ve thought as our own highly personal problems suddenly becomes a fun thing to talk about.
It’s an enjoyable read, simply identify your shape, see what doesn’t suit, see what does and see personalities with the same problems looking ravishing or simply dreadful.
Aware of individual budget restrictions, they explain shopping for more and more clothes isn’t always the answer. “Giving your wardrobe a good workout is as satisfying as a day’s shopping,” they say, and the dressmaker’s skills are also applauded for simple updating alterations to existing garments.
The new TV series Undress the Nation starts this week and promises some shock tactics and stunts to inspire the Brits to become more stylish.
Every week sees a different challenge; this week’s subject? You can guess, it’s their favourite subject, breasts and wrong size bras and features 1,000 women from Rothwell throwing away their old bras for good in the middle of the town square.
“The show is like nothing we have ever done,” says Susannah. “It’s more campaigning; we are looking at issues that have come up time and time again.”
Why, we have to ask, do they think the UK needs “tackling” and why do they think we as a nation get it wrong?
“The UK as a whole has a huge style problem in that the country tries to dress like celebrities,” they say.
“They take no account of what actually suits them, we are not a nation of clever dressers.”
“Forget ‘trendy’ and think ‘sexy’,” adds Susannah. “Stick to clothing that suits your shape.”
The pair are obviously pleased with this latest offering and as viewers we are beginning to warm to their impertinence, insensitivity and bullying, administered when their “victims” are at their most vulnerable, and yes, we know it’s edited especially for extra shock effects.
“People now know not to take so much offence at what we say, and that we are doing it for their own good and can really make a difference,” says Trinny. “Always expect prodding and poking, no-one has ever complained,” adds Susannah (but we haven’t forgotten Jo Brand, Susannah!)
If these two are as influential as Delia Smith was in persuading us all to buy eggs, then we’ll see the Trinny and Susannah effect by next spring at the very latest, not necessarily in the latest trends but looking like a million dollars all the same.
Trinny and Susannah Undress the Nation is at 8pm on ITV1 this Wednesday but then every Tuesday for five weeks.
The Trinny and Susannah range for Littlewoods Direct is available now at www.littlewoodsdirect.com. The Body Shape Bible by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson available now, priced £20. Trinny and Susannah Original Magic Knickers are available nationwide.