By Elizabeth Rahe
George Kotsiopoulos remembers a high school spring break trip from his Illinois home to Fort Lauderdale – “I think there were like, eight of us in one hotel room. It was very crazy and fun.” The co-host of E! Entertainment’s Fashion Police also recalls being in Miami in the ’90s and enjoying the “super-cool” arts scene. But the tropical climate?
“I love it up to a point. I was there once in September, and it was hot, really hot. I saw a man walking on the street in a suit, and I said, ‘Oh, that poor man.’ If you have to wear a suit, what the hell do you do?”
Then the fashion editor/celebrity stylist – who brings true sartorial acumen to the sharp-tongued, Fashion Police trio of Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osborne – answers his own question. “I always say you dress for the weather and not necessarily the season. If it’s 100 degrees out, you wear a linen suit. You’re not going to wear a wool suit. Trends go out the window when it is super-hot out.”
Perhaps – during a phone conversation from his Los Angeles home base – Kotsiopoulos was anticipating his own fashion choices for hosting The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills Tour de Fashion Oct. 25. Seeking cool tips for fall and holiday dressing City & Shore asked a few questions of the always stylish stylist.
C&S: Any thoughts on interpreting fall trends for our climate?
GK: Two trends from spring are carrying over into fall: The black-and-white trend is great because it’s seasonless, and floral prints are going strong. There were tons of pastel coats on the fall runways, which was great because we usually see jewel tones and darker tones.
C&S: Any ideas for special-occasion dressing?
GK: One of the newer trends on the fall runways – that sounds so silly – is just the notion of different pieces, mixing and separates, such as brocade pants with a dressy top. Most women do not need a closet full of cocktail dresses, but a dressy top and a dressy pant that they can wear more casually or wear together for an elegant look is more accessible and wearable.
The one question you have to ask yourself [when shopping] is, ‘Where am I going to wear that?’ If you have no answer, don’t buy it – with the exception of formal or cocktail attire. If you find a great cocktail dress, you just buy it, because you will find an opportunity to wear it. That’s all in my book, Glamorous By George [Abrams], which publishes in January.
C&S: Why focus on glamour?
GK: It used to be that the highest compliment you could give someone was to say she looked like a movie star, but movie stars don’t look like movie stars anymore. The book’s about infusing elements of glamour into your life. It’s about fashion and beauty from different decades and how they’re still relevant today, and women are still using them. And we go into different body types for the decades.
C&S: So you advise women to draw upon styles of the past.
GK: Vintage style stands up to the test of time. Trends are fun, and it’s fun to try new things, but ultimately, if you don’t have the body for a miniskirt, you should not be wearing it. You can’t wear something just because it’s in fashion.
ONLINE BONUS more of our interview with George K
You have a clothing line in the works?
“Yes, I think it will be coming out in September of 2014. I’m not a designer; I’m a stylist. I know what looks good on women, all types of women of all ages. I want to make cool clothes that women feel good in, feel sexy in and feel confident in, that are flattering and easy to wear. Comfortable but not that comfortable.”
Not that comfortable?
“Everyone says, ‘I just want to be comfortable.’ Sure, you want to be comfortable, but a man looks best in a suit. You put on a suit on any poor slob and he instantly looks better. Is that a comfortable thing? No, but you wear it. It’s not sweatpants. Comfort within reason.”
You have been named one of Hollywood Reporter’s 25 Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood. Do you think people feel self-conscious around you – fashion-wise – at parties and events?
“People say, ‘Oh, are you Fashion Policing me right now?’ I’m not looking at them and saying, ‘Can you believe what she’s wearing?’ I’m just so flattered that they’re saying hello. If someone wanted to know, I would absolutely tell them. ‘Oh you have great legs – your skirt should be shorter. If you put a belt around that, it would show off your nice, small waist.’ Whenever I critique someone I’m coming from a place where I want you to look better and feel better. I don’t come from a place where I just want to rip on you. It’s not about that.”
You are on the board of P.S. Arts, which provides arts education in underserved California public schools and communities. Why?
“Art just opens peoples’ minds. Funding for arts programs has been cut in California. Growing up I couldn’t imagine not having art class. It was my favorite class. My art teacher was wonderful. You could do no wrong in art class. If you show up, you’re fine. It’s like yoga – you can’t do yoga badly. Art allows you to expand your mind, it sparks creativity and opens you up to new ideas.”
IF YOU GO
The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills will host “Tour de Fashion: An Indulgence in Shopping, Mojitos and More,” with special guest George Kotsiopoulos, co-host of Fashion Police for E! Entertainment, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday (Oct. 25). Attendees will help a number of local causes as they enjoy signature mojitos, tasty delights, live entertainment, runway shows and great shopping. Tickets start at $30. 954-233-0878, ColonnadeOutletsTourdeFashion.com.