The fairy godmother of fashion, Gok Wan, takes his makeover show round the UK in Gok’s Clothes Roadshow (Tuesday, C4)…
What can you tell us about your new show?
“It’s a fun-packed fashion extravaganza! We’re going on the road for each episode, travelling around the country, which has been exhausting but loads of fun. We’re doing makeovers, but not one person; we’re doing groups. We’re doing body shape master-classes where we concentrate on dressing different body shapes and there are style sessions where I’m teaching people how to customise in front of a live audience. Then there’s a big face-off at the end where we’re against the biggest designers.”
Sounds like hard work!
“It’s really hard – lots of coffee, lots of Haribo, and I go to the gym four times a week to keep myself fit. If I didn’t do that I might crumble! It’s exhausting, really shattering, but the pay-off and prize at the end is quite unbelievable. You have to keep reminding yourself of that. It’s worth it!”
Which towns are you visiting?
“We go to Harrogate, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff, Bristol, London and Birmingham. I’m like a very unglamorous Phileas Fogg. Everyone else gets the sun – I get the British Isles.”
Where was the highlight?
“The reception was phenomenal in Liverpool. The Liverpudlians really did take us under their Scouser wing and we had probably the biggest audience of all the shows I’ve made in the past six years, right at the centre of Liverpool One, which is the main shopping centre. We had a large catwalk show in the evening, which was beautiful, and we had great contributors. It was the first episode we did so we went in there all guns blazing and you really do see it. It’s almost like The Apprentice on Ice – that’s what I’d call it!”
Do you get sick of all the travelling?
“No, I miss my home though. I’ve worked very hard to have a nice home and never seem to be there! But it makes me realise how much I love my home. One of those things you have to think of.”
What do you like best about this show?
“I love all of it. I get panicky about all of it! I love doing the makeovers and meeting the women and having a laugh. I also love the reveal at the end when they get to see themselves. It’s a phenomenal feeling – I don’t think many presenters get that opportunity. I love the face-off, too, because I get to show people I’m not just a presenter, I’ve worked in fashion a long time and I get to show off what I know, which is brilliant. The body shape master class has also been really good fun as 100 women eager for knowledge is a fortunate position to be in. And the catwalk face-off is quite spectacular too, mainly because of the volume of people who turn up. We get into the city at the beginning and have no audience and I have to contact press and radio and drum up business, so we don’t know until the last day how many people will come, then we have thousands and thousands turn up.”
Do you style any celebrities?
“I never have time to do personal styling any more as I’m always so busy filming the show, but never say never. I might be doing a celebrity wedding soon as a favour to a friend – designing a friend’s dress. You’ll have to wait and see who that is.”
Who are your favourite people you’ve worked with?
“I’ve worked with most of my icons. French and Saunders, I am the biggest fan in the entire world, so to work with the girls and now be friends with them is quite remarkable and unbelievable.”
Which celebs get it right and wrong in the style stakes?
“No one’s getting it really wrong. Dannii in the last series of The X Factor turned it out every single week, which was just brilliant and effortless. The X Factor is the only show I watch, I’m such a big fan – I went four times! I was voting for Matt, but I also liked Rebecca. I was there at the end and I was so happy for Matt and that I got to congratulate him.”
Can you sing yourself?
“I used to sing at university as I trained as an actor, but I wouldn’t say it was good. I’ve probably smoked too many fags now to even try to hold a note!”
What’s next for you?
“I’ve got new shows in the pipeline and stuff I don’t think people would expect me to do – moving away slightly from what I’m doing now and a huge project I’m doing next year. It’s going to be busier than ever! Life is great. I’m loving every moment of it and having a wonderful time.”
Gok’s Clothes Roadshow starts on Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4