Meeting Trinny & Susannah
Admit it, you watch them, too. The success of Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine has long crossed the borders of their native UK, with the couple appearing on television screens everywhere from the United States to Belgium. Having moved on from the star-making series What Not to Wear, they now impart style wisdom to thousands of women via their newest programme Trinny and Susannah Meet Their Match (seen in Flanders on the Vitaya channel).
At no other time have fashion writers and badly dressed women shared the same space
Trinny and Susannah’s shows are an ambivalent kind of entertainment. Do we watch them because we actually want to learn how to dress ourselves or do we sneakily enjoy the duo’s snappy and often tear-inducing remarks about other people’s style (or lack thereof)?
Last week, the answer became very clear when hundreds of women gathered in the Antwerp Stadsfeestzaal to watch Trinny and Susannah live on stage. Surprisingly, when the style gurus asked who in the audience was in need of help, dozens of women put up their hands and feverishly tried to reach the stage.
To them, it didn’t seem to matter that hundreds of people were staring from the audience while Trinny was taking a peek under their blouse to check whether they were wearing the right bra, and Susannah was lifting their T-shirt to show a belly spilling over a too-tight pair of jeans. Some seemed a little nervous, but all of them were listening intently to the advice of the British ladies, nodding and agreeing with their remarks.
The two were brutally honest, as always, but, to be fair, they took pains to highlight the positive attributes of every woman who got up on stage. Every remark about faulty style was set off by a compliment. Never mind your belly, when you have youthful looks to be proud of, and don’t worry about your pear shape, when you have gorgeous legs to show off…
Of course, Trinny and Susannah didn’t come to Belgium just to help these women. Rather, they are stumping for their new collection of “Magic Knickers”, a collaboration with Belgian company Cette. The names of the different styles in the collection don’t leave much to the imagination: The Bum Lifter, The Tummy Flattener and The Bum, Tum and Thigh Reducer. Each is designed to make you lose a dress size when you wear it. Everyone cheered when Susannah lifted her skirt and proudly showed off her pair.
And that is the reason why women around the world are not afraid to face these style mavens: they’re only human. And they’ll make sure you know that. Why else would Susannah break the ice with an anecdote about losing her virginity while she was studying in Brussels over 20 years ago?
However, journalists did witness just a smidgen of diva behaviour when the ladies arrived fashionably late at the press conference. Trinny mentioned she adores Belgian designer Martin Margiela, and her personal shopper was sent to grab a couple of items from the nearby Louis boutique for her to have a look at after all the interviews.
Will Margiela, I wonder, get an honourable mention in Trinny & Susannah’s latest style guide Who Do You Want To Be? The Belgian release is planned for August.
As for Antwerp, they may not have seen the last of the dynamic duo. During their visit, Susannah spills the beans: “We definitely want to return to Belgium with an entire team: make-up, hair and everything. We’re not done with you yet!”
Hide those sweat pants.