Baring it all in Paramount+’s Undressed


“This was never going to be a makeover show”

Could changing your clothes change your life?

Now streaming on Paramount+, Undressed takes a group of Australians on a journey, exploring what drives their clothing choices and challenging them to make new choices that will create the lives they want to live.

Award-winning journalist, author, and fashion decoder Kathryn Eisman hosts the show, and begins by working out all of the participants’ biggest insecurities – simply by looking at their clothes.

The show is produced by Made Up Stories, the powerhouse team behind Nine Perfect Strangers and Pieces of Her in the company’s first foray into unscripted television.

Mediaweek spoke to host Kathryn Eisman and Undressed EP  Sarah Thornton about baring all and changing lives.

Whilst Undressed is new to the market, the seeds of the show have been in the back of Eisman’s head for a long time. 

Eisman: “I started off my career by writing a couple of books about the language of clothing and what it says about us – my first book was called How To Tell A Man By His Shoes and my second book was How To Tell A Woman By Her Handbag. For a very long time, I’ve wanted to bring those books to life and change the way people look at fashion, not just as something that’s just to be on trend, or to dress in a way that’s flattering, but to utilise it as a really powerful tool to express who you are.

“Just under two years ago, I was having a conversation with the extraordinary Bruna Papandrea of Made Up Stories. I did a reading of her clothes. Bruna, by her own admission, is not that interested in fashion – and yet, she was really taken aback by how accurate the reading was. It wasn’t actually about fashion, it was about her choices as a person that were expressed through fashion. I said, Let’s do a show together, and she said, I love it.”


It wasn’t just Papandrea who was immediately on board with the concept of Undressed, with Thornton saying that the show fit exactly what Paramount was looking to add to its slate. 

Thornton: “At Paramount, we’re looking for premium content that can sit alongside the premium entertainment that we have on there already. This is definitely that. 

“Also, we’re always looking for content that tells people’s stories. We were very excited at the prospect of partnering with Kathryn, but also with Made Up Stories, which is helmed by Bruna Papandrea. We were also excited by the interesting approach of combining non scripted production values with telling stories of everyday Australians.”

When bringing the vision of Undressed to life, the first thing the team needed was a group of people looking for a fashion intervention. When casting the show, Thornton says that the team were primarily keeping an eye out for stories to tell.

Thornton: “We obviously wanted a really diverse cross section of Australia, but we wanted to represent the stories of viewers. We also wanted to find different types of what Kathryn called emotional dressing, so we could really explore the psychology of different ways of dressing.

“There are people whose emotional reasons are holding them back –  maybe someone told them they weren’t beautiful, so they’ve never dressed in a feminine way for the rest of their life. Maybe following the divorce, they didn’t know how to fit into the next chapter. It’s about helping people move forward from wherever they are in their life.”

Whilst historically shows that set out to change the way somebody looks haven’t always been the kindest to their participants, positivity is the foundation that Undressed is built on.  

Eisman: “We were very clear that this was never going to be a makeover show. This was going to be a positive transformation show that got to the core of them, it just happened to use fashion as a tool for that.”

Thornton: “One of the things that sets her approach apart from say, Gok who I’ve worked with, or Trinny and Susannah who I grew up watching, is that there’s this real sense with those shows of tearing people down to build them back up. This isn’t that. This is about Kathryn looking and seeing people’s hopes and dreams and the best in them, but then explaining to them why they’re not representing that in their clothes.”

Of course, it’s not as easy as just slipping on a new coat and striding out into the world with all your newfound confidence.

Thornton: “It was a really emotional process. I’d say one of the most fascinating things working on it, was how dedicated our participants were to the process and the amount of effort that took for them. Kathryn talks about this idea of trying to step into a new way of dressing, it really stretches you and makes you feel vulnerable – you’re stepping out into the world in a way that you’re not used to without your armour.”

Ultimately, as Undressed takes to Australian screens, Eisman says that she has one main hope for the show: for people to see others differently.

Eisman: “There are people on this show that you would easily walk past on the street and be judgmental of or make assumptions about who they are based on the way they dress. This opens your eyes to show that we are often not what we seem. 

“We’ve made sure that throughout the series I really deliver tips and insights into what fashion means, so that it’s impossible not to watch it and ask the question, what does this say about me

“My goal is forever shifting the way that you view the daily act of getting dressed.”

Top Image: Kathryn Eisman  Sarah Thornton

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