As a co-host of "Fashion Police," stylist George Kotsiopoulos had accrued a reputation for his incisive wit and insightful eye while navigating celebrity fashion. In "Glamorous by George," Kotsiopoulos shares his tips for glamour and elegance. Here's an excerpt.
The glamour of Hollywood isn’t what it used to be. Yes, we’ve got gorgeous celebrities draped in couture on loan. We’ve got huge stars dripping with borrowed baubles from the world’s most prestigious designers and jewelers. But what happened to that certain movie-star magic? The enduring qualities that made Hollywood classically glamorous are nowhere to be found on today’s red carpets.
I miss iconic women. Especially today looking out into a sea of overnight boldface names, many of whom are defined by dalliances and headline-making disasters. I long for the return of the real movie star: the allure, the wit, and the mystique.
As a stylist, red-carpet commentator, and cohost of the show Fashion Police, I witness the good, the bad, and the ugly on a daily basis. Growing up, I loved fashion and went shopping with my older sister constantly. I have always been fascinated by how clothes change over time, and how trends shift first on television shows and then, later, on the streets of the small town where I grew up. For instance, did you notice how differently the cast of The Brady Bunch was dressed at the beginning of the show, when it was prim and mod (what we would now call Mad Men style), than toward the end, when their clothes became much more groovy, with oversize collars and huge bell-bottoms? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, DVR the show or watch a few clips online. Marcia and her siblings did a complete wardrobe change, as did Wonder Woman and the ladies of Charlie’s Angels a decade later, this time from bell-bottoms to straight-leg pants.
Maybe it’s just me noticing these things, but pop culture is a great place to observe fashion change. That’s part of what I do on Fashion Police, and it’s an important part of my job as a stylist. I work with celebrities, models, and ordinary women to help them look their best from head to toe.
But while I am constantly surrounded by a bevy of screen-worthy beauties and television superstars who are counted among the world’s most gorgeous women, I still find myself asking: “Where have all the movie stars gone?”
Sure, I see plenty of celebrities during awards shows and Hollywood functions, but let’s be clear: A movie star is not the same thing as a celebrity. Movie stars are of a different breed, and their staying power is absolute. In today’s world, celebrities are a dime a dozen, and we count “Real Housewives” as style icons, but possessing true movie-star quality means shining brighter than anyone else in the room and commanding the right kind of attention with grace.
The world needs more movie stars, not just on-screen and at premieres but on a practical, everyday level. Just think how much more beautiful and pleasant your office, favorite bar, or local Starbucks would be if people ditched the frumpy clothes and grumpy attitudes and instead opted for elegant ensembles and charming manners on any given Thursday. This is not some pipe dream— with the advent of inexpensive but beautifully designed clothing available nationwide, elegance is within everyone’s reach. And Glamorous by George will show you the way.
There’s too much unsightly reality in the world today. Girls dressed in disheveled or skimpy ensembles have become ubiquitous. Short shorts, hooker heels, and minidresses have reached new heights, leaving little to the imagination and even less to be desired, fashion-wise. Take a character like Christina Applegate’s Kelly Bundy from the 1980s–1990s show Married, with Children.... At the time, she was seen as trashy and extreme—a poster girl for slutty groupies, clad in a bustier top, skintight skirt, and an acid-wash denim jacket draped loosely around her shoulders. Today the Kelly Bundy look is relatively tame and would pass for something we see fourteen-year-olds sporting in the pages of a chic, glossy magazine like Teen Vogue. The lack of class in clothing and media may signify a shift in the way we live, but it doesn’t mean that we have to abandon the magic, mystery, and glamour that give a movie star his or her timeless shine.
I would love to bring back the refined elegance of the movie star en masse. But since I can’t convince the whole world all at once, I’ll start with one woman at a time. Creating movie-star style may seem like a lot to do, but in Glamorous by George I’ll show you how to look glamorous—and make it seem effortless— one chapter at a time.
As a stylist, I help clients and celebrities look great by choosing styles and fabrics that flatter their bodies and hide their flaws and by using colors that complement their complexions and personalities. I’ll guide you through every step my clients take to help you find your inner movie star, from the style and color palette in your clothes to your tasteful demeanor. Luckily, presenting timeless glamour doesn’t require a celebrity budget or securing a film debut at the Cannes Film Festival—just a state of mind.
You may think that movie-star style is beyond your reach, but I promise you it’s not. Some of the biggest, most iconic, gorgeous, and now-established movie stars made the same leap you’re about to make. When I was an assistant stylist, I worked with Charlize Theron on a shoot for Esquire back when she was a mere model. She was bubbly and upbeat and running around the set half naked and fully wild. She was like many other model-actresses I had worked with, but there was a spark to her that stuck with me. About a year later, we crossed paths again, on a photo shoot for InStyle magazine. This time Charlize was on the cover. She wasn’t a half-naked wild child running around the set but instead a golden goddess in our midst. It was apparent through her gracious nature and the elegant way she carried herself throughout the shoot that she had made the transition from model-turned-actress/quasi-celebrity to a bona fide movie star. That day, I felt like I had witnessed an exceptional change—which ultimately led Charlize to winning an Oscar.
That transition, and its lasting impression, is what I want for you.
Reprinted from Glamorous by George by George Kotsiopoulos by arrangement with Harry N. Abrams. Copyright © 2014 by George Kotsiopoulos