George Kotsiopoulos talks about 'Fashion Police' exit, new QVC line
Even when he was a 15-year-old stock boy at the Lord & Taylor store in Old Orchard, George Kotsiopoulos loved fashion.
The Skokie native, celebrity stylist and former host of E!'s "Fashion Police" says he lied about his age on the department store's job application just so he could work in the stockroom.
Kotsiopoulos on QVC• 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, during the 3-hour "Road to the Runway Miniseries"
• 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, on "PM Style"
• 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, on "Red Carpet-Ready"
"I loved seeing all the new clothes come in," said Kotsiopoulos, a Niles West High School student at the time. "I kinda liked the behind-the-scenes stuff. It was very 'Downton Abbey.' It was like 'Upstairs Downstairs.' It was fun, and I had a discount, and I was able to buy clothes."
Now, roughly 30 years later, people are stocking his clothes.
This week, Kotsiopoulos is launching his own women's clothing line on QVC called GK George Kotsiopoulos. Designed for sizes 0-28, with items all priced under $90, Kotsiopoulos' nine-piece line aims to be fashion-forward without pushing the envelope.
"My focus was really on the fit. I've dressed hundreds of women. I know what fits and what doesn't. I really tried to make pieces that would be universally flattering," he said. "I'm not reinventing the wheel, but I'm bringing whatever expertise I've gained."
He gained a lot of fashion expertise over the years, starting with a job in the style department at T: The New York Times Style Magazine. From there, he started doing small TV appearances where he'd talk about fashion, which led to his star-making role as a celebrity fashion critic on E!'s "Fashion Police" with the late Joan Rivers, who affectionately called him "Georgie."
Kotsiopoulos did four seasons and 200 episodes of the hit show before Rivers' death last September, which put the show on hiatus.
When the revamped "Fashion Police" returned a few weeks ago (with comedian and Oak Park native Kathy Griffin as the new host), Kotsiopoulos was mysteriously absent. He declines to discuss why he didn't return, or whose decision it was. And when asked his thoughts about the new version of the show, he said only, "I have not seen the new 'Fashion Police.'"
Kotsiopoulos did say that he still talks to purple-haired co-host Kelly Osbourne all the time and misses Joan Rivers dearly.
"I had four awesome years with Joan. She was more than anyone could ever ask for. She was like a mother and a grandmother and friend. I'm really grateful and lucky to have had it," he said. "One of the things I actually missed the most was, I'd go to work and laugh for four or five hours."
Kotsiopoulos admits he never came to Los Angeles to be on TV. He just wanted to further his fashion career.
"I'm getting in front of cameras, like, whoa, how did this happen?" said Kotsiopoulos.
It appears more TV will be in his future, though he's staying tight-lipped about what that will be.
"I'm trying to decide what my next move will be on television," he said last week.
This is high season for award show red carpets, and Kotsiopoulos is still sharing his fashion critiques for various media outlets.
Who has looked good on the red carpets so far this year? He liked Rihanna and Miley Cyrus on the Grammy red carpet Sunday and had some favorites at the Golden Globes, too.
"I always like Emma Stone. I think she kinda owns it and she enjoys fashion, and she has the confidence to pull it all off. She has a model's body, so it makes it much easier," Kotsiopoulos said.
And who hasn't looked so great?
"A lot of people are up in arms about Keira Knightley's choices. She's really not concerned about what everyone's saying. Did she look flattering in the dresses? No. Was the fit great? Absolutely not. But the style was there. They could have been better. I'm still all for people not being cookie-cutter," he said.
Kotsiopoulos has helped style dozens of A-list celebrities in recent years, including actress and Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy, but he's not doing much celebrity styling these days. Instead, he wrote the book "Glamorous by George," consulted with companies such as GAP, works as a brand ambassador for Tide's and Downy's washable fashion campaign, and now is a budding designer.
The fall line of GK George Kotsiopoulos is already in production, and he's started work on the Spring 2016 line.
"It's a 'let's see what happens' sort of thing," he said. "Hopefully, I will have a long career with QVC."
• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are always looking for people from the suburbs who are now working in showbiz. If you know of someone who would make an interesting column, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.