Tim Gunn dishes at USF about fashion, Project Runway and celebs who fake as designers
Tim Gunn is a busy man. He juggles jobs as the chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne and chief coach/cheerleader for the contestants on the deliciously addictive Project Runway. He also attracted a standing-room-only, giddy crowd of 1,000-plus people Wednesday night at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Anyone who watches Project Runway knows Gunn is a gentleman on TV. Well, having been among that happy audience last night, I can now attest: He may be even more gracious in person. After lecturing on fashion history and dishing about Project Runway past and present, he answered probably two dozen questions from students AND stuck around until nearly midnight signing copies of his book. Impressive!
Turns out, he's also a charming gossip who doles out juicy tidbits while peering over glasses that continually slide down his nose. For all you Runway junkies, some quick insider stuff: Gunn says Season 7 starts airing on Jan. 14 and "it's fantastic." Models of the Runway has grown on him. And he's interested to see what fans think about the outcome of tonight's show, when viewers will find out which designers get to show collections at Bryant Park. His reaction to the judges' picks: "Really? Are you sure?"
To tide you over until showtime, here are some more insights into the fabulous and funny mind of Tim Gunn:
On his first impression of Los Angeles (the shooting site for Season 6 of Project Runway): "I thought, 'Where's New York and where's my deli and where's my sidewalks that people can actually walk on?'"
On fashion: "The clothes we wear send a message about how the world perceives us. It's not inconsequential...If getting our fashion right were easy, everybody would look fabulous! And regrettably, everybody doesn't."
On celebrity "designers": I don't believe Lindsay Lohan or Lauren Conrad would have made it beyond the first semester of freshman year (at Parsons design school, where he used to teach)."
On Crocs: "I get the comfort part. But when I look down I see a hoof."
On the upside of the down economy: "If I never see another $26,000 handbag, I will be perfectly happy."
On super-skinny runway models: "It's getting really ridiculous. (When) the circumference of her knee is bigger than the circumference of her thigh, it's not pretty."
On bare midriffs: "It belongs on the beach. I don't believe it belongs anywhere else."
On cosmetic surgery: "There is nothing sadder than a man who has had cosmetic surgery." (He doesn't mind it for women, as long as it is subtle.)
On quality vs. style: "Quality. Always."
On trends: "The trouble with trends is, you don't know when they're going to become dated." For instance, the gladiator sandal. "I mean, my God. It takes 30 minutes to put it on."
On trends that need to go away for good: "Big, broad shoulders. It's just not flattering on most women. It makes them look boxier. I hold these up in stores and say, 'Who's going to look good in this?'"
Deal Diva Colleen
(Photo: Getty Images. No, Mr. Gunn didn't wear a tux to USF. He wore a dark pinstripe suit from Banana Republic, but my pictures turned out yucky.)