Gok Wan talks trends, boys and Australian style - VideoWhen Gok Wan walks into a room - even if it's the mood-lit, leather seated luxury of a swank joint like Surry Hill's Tokonoma - the place brightens instantly. His energy is immediate, bubbly and flirtatious; he makes you feel at ease to the point where patter between strangers takes on the intimacy of a catch up between old friends.
This overflowing loveliness is the reason the UK based stylist has managed to make a living coaxing women of shapes and ages waylaid by the beauty industrial complex into stripping their kits off and feeling proud as they do it. His work on How To Look Good Naked has been replicated in dozens of countries, and follows a feel-good fashion television format that was previously unheard of. Your average make-over show is about altering shapes, drastic surgery or bitchy closet critiques - but Gok's work focuses on fattening up self-esteem, and working with what you have, not shedding kilos and striving for something you're not.
He was a little nervous when the show first premiered - after all, self acceptance doesn't exactly sell product as effectively as promises of miraculous change (however hollow) - but the response of the fashion industry was overwhelmingly positive.
Gok has since gone on to create several other shows, including the enduringly popular Gok's Fashion Fix, where the star style consultant explains how to achieve a high end trend in ways that still sport mass-appeal. For this show, Gok does his own research - heading up a team of stylists - and customises high street pieces to freshen them up for the seasons ahead. The man is no television parrot, repeating a script. When you talk to him, you can tell straigh away how hands on he must be in his research. He's charming, effervescent and fun, but Gok also speaks like someone has downloaded the entire database of WGSN directly into his brain, allowing him to access any look, trend, or styling idea from the past 20 years immediately, and then apply it to whatever situation is at hand.
This skill will come in handy over the following weeks, as Gok travels around the country on his Westfield Style Tour, performing 7 makeovers in 45 minutes, across Westfield Shopping Centres all over the east coast of Australia.
He's working with a team of Westfield's own stylists for the stage show. When I caught up with the star in Sydney, he seemed apprehensive, but optimistic about the week ahead.
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