Tim Gunn on His SD Visit This Weekend | The Feast
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Ask the Experts by Chantal Gordon Sep 23, 01:05PM in Shop

Tim Gunn Talks to The Feast About His Upcoming S.D. Visit, What He's Editing Out of His Closet

Tim Gunn Talks to The Feast About His Upcoming S.D. Visit, What He's Editing Out of His Closet
Tim Gunn portrait by Thomas Whiteside; Fashion Valley photo courtesy of Simon Property Group "What will hopefully disarm and surprise are our models," says Gunn. "We use real women...We're not going to be walking a bunch of 17-year-olds down the runway."

That he’s an unending source of candor and tailoring-minded tough love is just one reason Tim Gunn is the mentor we always wish we’d had. This weekend, the Project Runway design guru and Liz Claiborne chief creative officer will stop by Fashion Valley for a fashion show (featuring Liz Claiborne brands Lucky Brand, Juicy Couture, and Kate Spade), Q&A and meet-and-greet.

Before he visits, though, we hopped on the phone with Gunn to find out what to expect at the Saturday, September 24, event and to learn why he’s not a “clothing hustler.”

What can attendees expect on Saturday?
None of it’s rehearsed; it’s all very spontaneous. And all the looks come from stores where we are, so you’ll be able to find everything right there. Our intention is to give the audience inspiration.

Expect to have a good time. We’re going to be showing lots of different looks from the brands and show how to transition from day to night. The Q&A from the audience and the meet-and-greet are always fun and uplifting — it’s the most fun I have in my career. I love interacting with real women; they tell the truth. They tell you what they like and what they don’t like.

Any surprises you can hint at for this weekend?
What will hopefully disarm and surprise are our models. They’re professional models but we use real women of different sizes and shapes. We’re not going to be walking a bunch of 17-year-olds down the runway.

Three pieces a woman needs in her closet to be up-to-date this fall?
You’re not going to like this answer. It’s difficult for me to say — I’m so careful about not giving women lists of items to spend money on. The first thing I say is to shop in your own closet. What’s that spectacular item you can exhume? What do you need?

I’m always saying: ‘Try it on, try it on, try it on.’ I was on Good Morning America a couple of springs ago and [the host] turned to me and said, ‘What should women run out and buy?’ Then Nina [Garcia] said, ‘Gladiator sandals!’ And maybe it was rude of me but I gasped; I said, ‘The gladiator? Most women don’t have time in their lives to lace the things up.’ It’s a matter of what you need. We’re not there as clothing hustlers.

But there are some hard-and-fast rules, right?
The only style mantra I deliver with frequency and impunity are: Silhouette, proportion, and fit. When you have harmony and balance, you can wear everything.

I chuckle at makeover books that say ‘If you’re a pear shape, wear this. If you’re an apple shape…’ I’ve never met a women who’s one of those things. It’s always a combination.

So, have you exhumed anything fabulous from your closet lately? 
Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of editing; I really do bring a lot of thought and consideration into what’s in my closet. Living in New York where space such a premium, when you buy something new, something old has to go. I refuse to live like a hoarder.

I edited out two pairs of jeans I was never going to wear again — they were too baggy and take me back to ’80s. When clothes have more volume than you do, it makes you look like you yourself have more volume.

Biggest fashion crime?
Poor clothing maintenance. When people buy something, they have the responsibility to take care of it.

Recent silhouettes that aren’t doing women any favors?
Balenciaga’s fall line looks like people walking around in gigantic sleeping bags. With all the fabrics and the exaggerated shoulders — it’s hugely unflattering. If you’re 16 you can get away with it; if you’re 36, you can’t.

Last week on 'Project Runway,' the episode was called 'What Women Want,' and featured guys who had absolutely no idea what their wives or girlfriends like to wear. What’s with this tradition of men who are clueless about their significant other’s personal style?

A lot if is male ego-derived: ‘I don’t concern myself with that.’ It’s embedded in most men. But when you find a man who does know, you think how great and thoughtful that is.

So if a guy is struggling to find a gift for his wife or girlfriend?
Accessories. [Laughs.] Steer clear of apparel. Jewelry’s always nice.

Free to the public. Saturday, September 24, 1 p.m. Guests who buy $150 or more worth of merch get a professional photo with Gunn and “special gifts." Details here.

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