My Trip To Tim Gunn’s Fashion Road Show

2009 Lucille Lortel Awards

Not Just Your Ordinary Mall Fashion Show, Tim Gunn Dishes On Personal Style, Project Runway And A Little Potty Humor.

There was more than oggling new looks and runway beauties at a recent Somerset Collection fashion show, emceed by the pope of fashion himself—Tim Gunn.  Much to my delight,  America’s fashion guru injected the show with a variety of unexpected anecdotes and opened up the floor to a short Q&A.

As I sat waiting for the show at Somerset Collection—a  luxury emporium which houses stores such as Gucci and Neiman Marcus—I relished in the people-watching paradise.  Women arrived in jeans and sweatshirts—unfazed by potential fashionista ridicule, and others donned the finest outfits that their budgets allowed.  One intriguing couple obviously looking for attention, arrived in matching purple leopard print outfits.  The woman had to clutch the bodice of her dress so as not to flash her bosom and her escort—a man with a Mr. T mohawk (complete with gold chains)—proudly took their seats in what can only be described as a Project Runway challenge gone seriously wrong.

I also noticed a  woman walk by and was so distracted by the fact that she was in desperate need of a bra intervention, that I took little notice of what she was wearing until she passed me by.

Tim Gunn’s Fashion Lessons and One-Liners

As the show started, we were immediately informed by his perky co-host that she was working on 2 hours of sleep and Tim had not slept in more than 36 hours.  This lack of sleep would prove to be the fuel for his unguarded quips as the models walked the runway. 

In a lesson on proportion, he explained that one must have volume at only one end of the body at a time.   (For example, a floaty blouse and a pair of skinny jeans.)  Otherwise, “Big + Big= a float in a parade,” Gunn proclaimed with indignation.

He advised the crowd that he “hates” trends but, loves flat boots—“they are a classic that will be in style for years to come.”   This is quite a refreshing alternative to the spiked stilettos that my feet often reject.

Here’s a tip to you women who like to dress in the same fashions as your daughters.  As models wearing Kensie Girl made their way down the ramp, Gunn cautioned, “If you are out of High School stay away from the junior’s section!”

Sage advice Mr. Gunn…  Sage advice…

One of the sponsors of the fashion show was Juicy Couture whom Gunn amusingly gibed, “push the boundaries of taste”.  He then backpedaled, and said that Juicy Couture was lovely—but like everything in fashion—you must choose your pieces wisely.  “Otherwise, if you put them all together,” he said, “they look like clown clothes.”  Ouch, I hope the Juicy folks didn’t notice that comment—but, he was right.  Grown women trouncing around in pink frilly dresses and hoodies is not exactly a good look.

Gunn is also well known for his distaste for footless tights.   “Tights create a proportional problem,” he said.  Unless they are one inch above the foot, they will cut off your leg.  Any shorter and they look like “overly-long bike shorts”—any longer, they look dreadfully saggy.


The crowd was treated to a short Q&A session with Tim where audience members were allowed to ask him anything from Project Runway to personal style questions.  Well as fate would have it, the woman who desperately needed a bra intervention had a chance to ask the fashion guru a question.  And what did she ask?  She wanted to know how to dress to flatter her “ample bosom.”  With grace, Tim turned to the audience and said that she, like many of the women that he has styled, unwittingly are wearing the wrong bra size and suggested that she have a proper bra fitting.  “You go Tim,” I thought.  I bet none of her friends would have had the courage to tell her she had a little too much bounce in her step.

A Little Potty Humor

The lack of sleep was obvious (but in an entertaining way) when he had trouble pronouncing the names of audience members who had won signed copies of his book, along with a gift bag.  In his frustration, he was reminded of an occasion when he was an instructor at Parsons and he came across the name of one unforgettable student.  Her name was was spelled, L-A-V-A-T-O-R-Y.  He said he thought to himself, “how am I going to say this one?”  The student told Tim that her mother named her the first word that she saw after giving birth.  Talk about a stinky name… Yikes!

The Chief Of The Fashion Police, Spares The World

Finally, he shared a story about the episode of Project Runway when Ra’ mone won the challenge where he designed a two-piece, neon-colored neoprene outfit.  Tim told the crowd how judge Nina Garcia “conducted a 45 minute filibuster” behind the scenes, lobbing for Ra’mone.  As we know, he won—much to Tim’s chagrin. 

You may or may not know, after each episode airs, the winning outfit(s) are auctioned off online to the highest bidder.  Tim confessed to the crowd that he was so appalled by the idea that anyone would wear that creation, that he furiously bid on the outfit.  With much pride, he announced that he was the winner of the auction, thus sparing the unknowing public the embarrassment of wearing such a monstrosity. 

And the fashion world can sleep safely…

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