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Updated: August 8, 2013 16:58 IST

Meet the missionaries!

Chirantan Khastgir
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Designs on India: Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine in New Delhi.
Designs on India: Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine in New Delhi.

As Trinny and Susannah try their makeover expertise on Indians with TLC’s “Makeover Mission India”, we speak to the style specialists about their experience with saris and lehengas

This August TLC brings the international makeover specialists Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine to our living rooms with their series Makeover Mission India. Here Trinny and Susannah scout for young men and women of different body shapes, sizes, fashion preferences and backgrounds – all in desperate need of a major style intervention.

The two style experts were in Delhi recently. Excerpts from an interview:

What are your views on the country’s fashion sense?

Susannah: Western fashion has so much to grow. It’s like the women have a uniform there, ‘skinny jeans and a T-shirt’, and that’s it. The traditional wear in India is so beautiful, and so colourful. I can’t really seem to get around the fact that they have such beautiful clothes for ceremonies and special occasions and that they shift to a boring set of clothes in the daytime. What Trinny and I want to do is try and bring together the two, giving the women a little more permission to stand out a bit more when they’re wearing western clothes.

What were your primary objectives when you came to India?

Trinny: Our primary motive was to offer in India what we do in other countries. We wanted to provide women with the confidence through dressing and make the most of themselves. But that doesn’t mean we want to change their dressing sense completely. We are here to appreciate the local customs and traditions, which we don’t want to negate and instead create a fusion of sorts between the West and the East in a modern way.

Did you have to bring changes within the show’s format for India?

Susannah: It was primarily the same. We realised very quickly that the women were sceptical about the show’s requirement in terms of body measurement. Normally we insist on it, they have to do it, it is a part of the journey. But we let go of it here.

What age group did you primarily focus on?

Trinny: I feel it is important to match the age group with the channel, in some countries we do older women while others may include relatively younger participants. There have also been instances of us going from 17 to 70. In India, we focussed on the age group of 18 to 40 approximately.

How did you go about selecting candidates?

Susannah: It was a mixture, some people wrote in, and then we found people on the streets. The common thread was them being stuck, they needed to bring themselves out, go through an emotional journey to get really forward again in life.

Were your transformations inspired by Indian attire?

Susannah: To some extent they were, we had an approximate 30 per cent window for traditional Indian wear. Sometimes the women we were working with were so far away from western styles and so much into the traditional old fashioned way that we had to re-introduce the same in a modern way.

Trinny: There was this one instance where we dyed a sari neon yellow, and added a pair of cool shoes to go along.

You two have managed to stand the test of time, do you always get together equally well?

Trinny: We have had two big fights in 17 years. Although those two were like volcanoes and tornadoes, we have to make up at the end of the day because we can’t really bear to knock it off.

How often do you find yourselves travelling?

Trinny: Last year we were out for eight months. This year it’s down to six.

Does that not take a toll on your family?

Susannah: It is very tough, but they’re used to it. I hope we are providing our children with good role models, because they need to understand that life isn’t easy, and one day they will have to go out there and work terribly hard.

What’s next?

Susanah: We will be going to Israel for a month and do a Mission show there, then return to the U.K. to get back to a lot of initiatives we are working on, including our freshly launched YouTube channel, along with work for the website and our Facebook page.

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