The fashion guru talks us through his style advice for surviving spring, and where he gets his own inspiration
Making women feel and look better since 2007, and not about to be stopping any time soon, despite branching out into everything from cookbooks to, now, releasing an album of operatic arias (he’s just curating it, not giving it his best Kiri Te Kanawa you will likely be relieved to hear).
We had a very useful chat about slogans, shoe porn, avoiding looking like a balloon, and how it gets right on his t*ts when he has to dress smartly…
Sometimes, Gok, we can’t keep up. Not enough time, not enough cash. If we were only to go for one new trend this season, what should it be?
Colour. Pink is everywhere. Reds, pinks and oranges together are my favourite palettes, and they work really well with citrus greens as well. So it’s neons and prints and colour, colour, colour.
Yet you’re not one for colour yourself…
I’m muted. I don’t follow trends for myself, it’s my job to make other people look good. I live in trainers, baggy jeans and sweatshirts, but everybody else, you must wear lots of bright, beautiful prints – jungle, ethnic, Africa-inspired, all stunning.
Sometimes our men just really don’t know how to cope with fashion. What should they/we do about that?
Just keep it smart, boys. Even I struggle and I work in the bloody business. Turn yourself out, and just try to enjoy it. We’re getting a bit more Japanese right now, it’s all gone a bit early Yogi, moving away from all this skinny-skinny stuff. It’s quite fun to wear, and easy to wear, so just relax and wear something with a pleat. That’s my advice.
Do you ever have fashion malfunctions?
So many, every single day. I tend to be a uniform dresser. I’m wearing a sweatshirt I bought from Cos, and I liked it so much I bought 15 of them and dyed them into different colours and put transfers and slogans on them. I bore myself, but it’s just what I do, it’s somewhere between OCD and laziness.
So you use all your energy dressing everyone else and when it comes to yourself, you’re like, ‘I’m spent’?
It’s a little bit like that. And it’s quite unusual to see an Asian person so tall, and I wear stupid glasses and I’m getting older so my body has changed and I’ve gained weight and just all this stuff that comes with being 42, really. I actually do prefer myself to be dressed as a sloppy Emo skater most of the time. I put on my big parka and an enormous scarf that would make Lenny Kravitz jealous and I feel like I’ve made enough of an effort. If I’m at work and I have to wear a suit or something, it just gets on my t*ts, it annoys me.
How are you going to cope with summer, being a fan of dense clothing?
Air conditioning. We only have a week of it, so it doesn’t really bother me, I’ll just have a version of this on, in lighter fabric.
Where do you go for fashion advice?
My morning ritual is to find out what everyone is wearing on Instagram.
And say we are Instagram style novices, where should we be looking?
Follow Eva Chen. She blows my mind, she’s a great dresser and has a beautiful eye. There’s a lot of shoe porn. And Angelica Cheung, Vogue China’s editor, has a great style. Kim Cattrall really gets it right too, and I’m a big Victoria Beckham fan. What she wears now when she’s casual is incredible.
She went through a stage when it was all tight-fitting, but now she teams stuff together so well and has great shoes. Quite tomboy-ish and androgynous. And Holly Willoughby has been reinventing herself and become a great style icon.
What slogan sums you up best?
Tired. Needing to sit in my pants and listening to some opera.
Ah, yes, opera. You’ve released an album of your favourite arias. This surprised us slightly…
I love opera, always have done, but I never felt posh enough to like it, so I didn’t discover it properly in my 30s. I liked it when I was a kid, but slightly on the sly. I’m really, really not highbrow, and opera has this reputation for being for the upper class, and when I went to my first opera I felt like I shouldn’t be there and I don’t feel like that any more.
They are very long at the theatre, I have been known to fall asleep, and if you go, look around you, there’s always people sleeping. But you don’t have to go there anyway. I prefer opera in my living room, on the sofa, in my pants.
Gok’s SS17 fashion advice
What should we avoid, avoid, avoid?
There are a lot of futuristic, incredibly over-size cuts that look wonderful and dramatic on a catwalk, but make everyone else look like a ballooon.
What do we have lurking in our wardrobes that we can dig out for this season?
We’ve smartened up, so recycling more formal clothes into casual. Jeans have been replaced with a capri or a skinny straight-cut trouser. Everybody has some trousers they wear to the office, so start wearing them at the weekend with a Breton, a pair of trainers and an oversize coat.
The clutch. The clutch is back. Decorated shoes too, there are some incredible ranges of customised trainers out there. And all of the slogan stuff is a great way of expressing your personality as well.
How should we cope when it’s all about spring frocks but global warming means it’s snowing in May?
Really, really good layering. Think Russian doll. The dolls get smaller, but there’s the same amount of detail on them, it’s about being able to derobe and there being another story underneath it. You need to channel your inner Babushka doll.
But what does one do if one loves, say, pink, but it doesn’t love us?
Just don’t. Honestly. Honour your body shape. If you really want it, just do it and bugger what anyone things. But why put yourself through it?
How do we deal with the fact gingham is back and we love it, but it might make us look like a five year old?
If you want to be, shall we say, demure, just reduce the amount. If you wore a huge ballgown-y dress, it’s going to be a huge statement, so just the shirt, or a bag or a scarf or a print on a shoe.