I know you recognize Clinton Kelly from his years spent as Stacy London’s partner in fashion faux pas crime on the long running WHAT NOT TO WEAR. This past year, he has been having fun as one of the co-hosts of ABC’s THE CHEW. Tonight, he’s adding one more thing to his very busy schedule – co-host of ABC’s EMMYS RED CARPET LIVE (with Josh Elliott, Lara Spencer, and Chris Harrison). Clinton spent some time chatting with me this week about what he hopes to see Sunday night, what you can expect from the all new THE CHEW book (“The Chew: Food. Life. Fun.”) and what’s on tap for season 2 of THE CHEW.
So we’re talking first about THE EMMYS RED CARPET LIVE – what are you most excited about this weekend?
I”m most excited to meet some of these people in the flesh [laughs], that I’ve been fans of for such a long time. So that’s what I’m most excited about, but then I’m also excited about being a part of the general excitement. I’m excited to see it up close and personal. This is my first Emmys. I’m excited to see what these actors and actress look like in the flesh in their gorgeous gowns and tuxedos.
You mention the people that you’d like to meet in the flesh – among the co-hosts of the show – is there someone where you say, hey, she’s mine, I want to talk to her?
[laughs] I’m currently looking forward to meeting Sofia Vergara. I’m going to talk to her if it’s the last thing I do! Rashida Jones, I’m a big fan of hers. Jane Lynch, I’ve been dying to meet. Who else…if Kate Winslet’s there, I’ll probably get very excited about that. And Christina Hendricks, I’ve been a fan of for a long time, so I’m looking forward to meeting her. And I’ve never met Amy Poehler! She’s a favorite of mine!
Do you have a plan of what kind of questions you’re going to go with, or, since it’s live, you’re going to kind of go with it?
I’m going to just roll with it. I’m not the fashion guy. I think that’s a big misconception people have of me. I’m not that concerned about the fashion of it. I’m more concerned about the style of it. I love it when a woman’s look really reflects who she is as a person, so the kinds of questions I’m going to be asking if I get the opportunity are things like, why did this dress resonate with you? Why did you want to wear this dress, and how do you feel in this dress? And what was the process like, choosing this dress? Is it the first thing you tried on, is it the 50th one you tried on, was it tailored to you, how many people were in the room when you tried it on? That’s the kind of stuff that I think are most interesting, and not just what designer are you wearing?
What are some of the big things that you’re looking for, styling dos and don’ts – what are you expecting?
It’s really about proportion. That’s what intrigues me the most. When does a woman decide to go with a giant necklace or giant earrings. When is that appropriate, versus when you let the dress do the talking. Everything has to be in harmony. The hair, the makeup, the jewelry, the accessories, and the gown itself. They all sort of have to work in harmony. It’s almost like a mathematical equation when it works. If you’re wearing a dress that has a lot of embellishment, then obviously, you don’t need a lot of jewelry, and the opposite is true. So I just love that. But I also like when women take chances as far as playing around with texture. Whether the texture is lace, or sometimes, they’ve even got a mesh panel or two. I mentioned embellishment – what kind of embellishment, where is the embellishment, I’m looking at that. I’m hoping that women will embrace prints a little bit for this Emmys. I love when a woman wears a printing dress on a red carpet. It seems really brave to me. It’s a great way to stand out from the pack.
What about for men – the tuxedo can only be done so many ways?
You know what, I don’t even know, I mean, it is a black tie. Black tie means tuxedo, and so I kind of like to see men in tuxedos. I feel for the most part, the red carpet is really about women, and I think it’s a man’s duty to look as polished as he possibly can. For other awards shows, I like to see men play with pattern and maybe color a little bit. I mean, hey, I’m wearing midnight blue – I feel like that’s scandalous!
Let’s switch gears and chat about THE CHEW – I’m watching every day!
The book is coming out – what can you tell us about what that entails, what we’ll find in there?
It’s sort of, if you can imagine, the entire first season of THE CHEW boiled down into a book. It’s the flavor of the show, encapsulated in 230 pages of the book. It’s not just recipes. We’re not just talking about cooking stuff; we’re having conversations. I’m giving advice on table top and entertaining. There are great food recipes, drink recipes. Interviews with all five of us, and other bits of lifestyle advice peppered in.
What can we expect for the rest of Season 2? What are things you want to introduce, or things you’re excited to see continue?
We really have decided to slow things down in Season 2. The biggest piece of feedback that we got from people was that there was almost too much stuff packed into a one hour show. We’re letting things breathe a little bit. We realize that it’s not just about the food. We started to realize that in Season 1, but after we got to take a little hiatus in August and say “what’s really working?” And what works best is when the five of us are relaxed and having fun, and it seems like we’re having a party in the kitchen. That was our mantra from the beginning – party in the kitchen. I think that along the way, in Season 1, we lost sight of that a little bit. In Season 2, though, we might as well have that tattooed on our chest: “Party in the Kitchen.” We want to create that feeling of somebody just coming into our house, sitting around our table, standing around our kitchen as we cook dinner, and having that great conversation, that revolves around food but it’s just about food!