“Manchester women’s style has evolved" - Trinny Woodall interviewed
I'm having the full Trinny Woodall experience. Stood in front of a full-length mirror, she's tucking my jumper into the front of my jeans with the familiarity of my mum on a school run in 1995.
In no time at all she assesses my problems and strengths – and somehow, with her encouragement, I’m embracing my thighs.
"I'm tall and pear-shaped too. But I think my boobs are bigger," she says matter of factly.
“I’d look at you and say you have amazing lips but we need to bring out your eye to balance your face.”
So she applies a highlighter, lipstick and blush to my skin – quickly padding my cheeks with her index finger.
She’s right. I certainly look better than when I arrived.
Trinny Woodall has been telling me what not to wear since my adolescence. Of course, she’s ‘Trinny’ of Trinny & Susannah fame; the What Not To Wear fashion duo that made over the nation back in the noughties. Together they garnered millions of viewers on primetime television and transformed close to 3000 women all over the world.
Most will remember Trinny's hands-on approach; there was the boob prodding, the careful criticism and the enthusiastic compliments.
So what do you think of Manchester's style then?
If your outfit was crap, she’d tell you. But only for your own benefit. Like most good friends would.
“You’re very honest…” I laugh.
“I am. But I won’t start on somebody unless I can bring them to a solution," she says reassuringly. "Like the other night in Manchester, I so wanted to ask someone ‘can I re-do your face?’ but I didn’t want them to feel like shit.”
"So what do you think of Manchester's style then?" I ask, bracing myself.
"...there is this sense that, no matter the stress of my job, I still need to look good. I notice that in Manchester, and I notice it more in Manchester than in London.
"Back in the day, Manchester’s famous women were always associated with football. There was stigma, or a very set perception of how a Manchester woman dressed. Manchester women’s style has evolved and moved on from that. There’s a coolness now. It was either really street, or Housewives of Cheshire. Now there’s an interesting in between. You’re a really interesting in between."
Phew. I'll take that.
I would give them no room to try and find a falsehood about their bodies.
Trinny is, well… Trinny. In person, she's exactly the persona you see on television: articulate, animated, posh but swear-y, intimidating, fun, impeccably well dressed and yes, honest. She’s never mean, though. She compliments you far more than she criticises. That’s where her credibility lies.
“I would make over women with anorexia,” she tells me. “They used to think I was really skinny so I would get out a tape measure. I’d ask 'who do you think has a bigger thigh?’ and they’d be wrong. I would give them no room to try and find a falsehood about their bodies.”
I trust Trinny’s instincts, fashion or otherwise. Most women who have survived the horror fashion show of the noughties would agree.
After two decades helping women gain self-esteem through clothing, Trinny’s next confidence building venture is makeup. Trinny London is her makeup line, now a year old and available online.
Much like Trinny's personal style, it's unique. The line is comprised of various makeup pots that you can build like a stack. Whether it's foundation, concealer or lipstick, the pots are easy to use, and she demonstrates by using her fingers. She even wears one of the pots on her hand - it's a gigantic magnetic ring with lipstick inside. I want one.
Where did the idea come from?
“I would take little pots from Muji, and I would mush together a lot of products to get the perfect consistency. I’d carry them around with me. People would ask ‘what’s that?’ and I’d say, it’s my makeup bag. This is all I need.”
Trinny London is made for all skin tones and was developed with a clever Match2Me online program to ensure no one is matched the wrong foundation shade when shopping via the net.
“... when you go to the counter you can be misdiagnosed," she says with an eye roll. "And then you walk outside and think, why the fuck do I have this foundation, it’s shit. You can be sold a whole routine and have no idea how to recreate it. So, we have lots of tutorials. What’s really clever about Match2Me is women buy a foundation online and it’s the right colour.”
Though in the midst of a new venture, ever the TV presenter, Trinny's still helping people find confidence on film. Though this time through extremely entertaining Instagram Live videos (there was a whole thing about nipples, Google it).
"I do an Instagram Live every day. We'll get anything from five to 800 questions and we’ll answer all of them. They’re getting answers. When you’re following someone younger on Instagram, they only give you their point of view."
Trinny is clearly passionate about what she calls the 'transformative powers of makeup' and what it can do for a person’s confidence', an area she never personally seems to struggle with.
"Have you always been confident?" I ask.
“I used to be really unconfident," she says. "I have five older siblings. I was spoiled by my mother but shat on by my siblings. In my twenties I did lack confidence and went on to have a wild few years, then at 29 I wanted to start my life over. I realised that I wanted to start my life with a foundation of cement not sand.
"And also for me I put down drugs. I wanted a clean, fresh life. And I filled that hole inside with a bit of faith in myself.
"I get to 54 and I have 27 years of experience of that."