The shocking truth about Carson Kressley: he drives himself to his own appearances. Despite the fur and feathers, the fashion guru, who has managed to stay in the game after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, is quite down to earth. When I caught him—in the car—before his trip to the Twin Cities to appear on ShopHQ’s Fashion Day this weekend, we covered a lot of ground: Fashion Police, Dancing with the Stars, Gianni’s Steakhouse in Wayzata, and, oh yes, fashion.
Who shops from a television shopping network these days?
It’s so popular! On TV, I can be a personal stylist—tell women what trends to embrace, what to avoid. I can’t do that at actual stores. Well, I could, but I’d be very tired. This is marketainment. Did I make that up? It’s real time. They’re experiencing a live show and interacting with it.
So tell me about the Love, Carson by Carson Kressley collection for ShopHQ.
I’m designing for the woman who wants to look polished, with a bit of flair. The woman who wants to be noticed. She could be 25 or 75. This fall, touches of leather are really important. And quilted jackets. I have a fantastic manufacturing partner in New York—75 percent of the collection is made in the USA. That’s very unusual at this price point.
Love, Carson by Carson Kressley grommet dress, $71 at shophq.com
Do you have a favorite piece from the fall/winter collection?
They are like my children! Some people have pictures of their grandkids in their wallets. I have pictures of cardigans.
Are you watching this season of Dancing With the Stars?
Every season after mine, I think the group is not nearly as cool as our group was, but then I’m drawn in. People always surprise you—like Betsey Johnson with that frozen handstand? I was like, oh, here comes that cartwheel again, but then, no, she froze! It was amazing. I am loving Leah Thompson, mostly because I’m in love with her partner, Artem Chigvintsev. Thank you for never buttoning your shirt, Artem! And Bethany Mota is really charming and very good. You might be seeing me make some DWTS cameos.
Anyplace else you’ll be popping up?
I'm currently obsessed with home renovation shows. I bought a farm in Pennsylvania and I'm doing it myself. I'm addicted to HGTV, so I'd love to do something on that network. It's a natural extension from fashion makeovers. Of course I always love doing cameos on Fashion Police.
Who do you think should take over Joan River’s role?
Besides me? They need somebody who is not afraid to say anything. It would be nice if it were someone like Kathy Griffin, who was kind of Joan’s protégé. But I have sympathy for anyone who is going to take over after a legend like Joan. I think it’s going to be really difficult.
So what if they did ask you?
I would be really scared and trepidacious about it. I think what you have to do in any situation is make it your own, give it your own spin. They need a funny person, and someone who knows something about fashion.
What do you watch on Bravo these days?
I don’t watch a lot of Housewives. To me, it’s kind of like the same show in different cities. It doesn’t really capture my interest. Even though I’m friends with LuAnn de Lesseps.
And Countess LuAnn will be joining you this weekend at ShopHQ! Does it get competitive—who moves more merch?
(Laughs) LuAnn and I are great friends. We’ll probably be out in Wayzata—having a table side spun salad at Gianni’s. It’s such a fantastic town.