I was getting ready to go to the Liz Claibourne/Glamour Magazine Denim Tour last Saturday and was so excited – I was about to interview Tim Gunn for Second City Style!
Suddenly, I was concerned about what I was going to wear. It’s not like I am afraid to wear the "smoky eye for day" or anything that strict. For Tim Gunn, I knew I could be modern or even avant garde, I just couldn’t go anywhere near "tacky" or he’ll call me a "Grandma Jezebel." I’m in my 40s and can run that risk, considering I actually like Roberto Cavalli. So cautiously, I thought "Quality, Taste & Style", made sure I did not have on too much mascara, and headed out to the suburban shopping mall.
Right in the parking lot was the bus and a tent. It was The Denim Tour. A beautiful and sunny day, the event drew such a crowd the organizers were concerned they would have to give rain checks for the fittings! They did manage to accommodate everyone giving out 160 fitting tickets.
There I saw our TV darling, Tim Gunn, in dark denim jeans, but still with his vest, suit jacket and tie!
He and Leah Caruso, Director of Marketing for Liz Claibourn, Inc., presented a fashion show under the tent and answered women’s "fit" questions.
Their best suggestion was "Try on!" You really must try on the jeans, and in some cases, yes, you may need alterations to the hem or the waist.
No matter what your size and shape, there is something for everyone with the large Liz Claibourne line. They stressed that slim is not just for skinny people, and there are ways to balance your figure flaws.
"A woman should wear a jean that follows her own curves, no matter what your size. These will be the most flattering. Medium to dark wash can be very slimming and very forgiving." Tim said.
The part I loved in the fashion presentation was when they showed 3 different body types with the same slim boot cut jean.
Then Tim opened the floor for questions:
His advice to a fashion student:
"My best advice for someone going into the industry is: 1. Know who you are as a designer, 2. Think beyond one show or one line… where are you going ?
3. Be ready to go on and produce what you design. Think about the long term."
A Total Tim-ism regarding Capri pants:
"They cut you off at the leg at a very unflattering place. You want to look longer and leaner, not shorter and stumpier. If you feel they are comfortable, then only wear them at home… with the door closed!"
A teen asked what she could wear to high school "Because we can’t exactly wear stilettos." Tim was impressed. "This concern speaks well of your fashion future."
Tim Gunn’s advise for everyone:
"Does it wear well with you?"
"Listen to your own voice, because if you feel confident in what you are wearing, it will show in your walk and demeanor."
"If you like a certain trend, even if it is not something I would recommend, then OWN that look."
"On my show, I do not want to change anyone, but to help them to find their inner fashion."
Then I had my 5 minutes with him, prepared with questions.
SCS: Why didn’t you choose Lauren Dimet Waters, our Editor In Chief, for your assistant on your new show? (This was meant to be a humorous ice breaker.)
Tim Gunn: (Very seriously) It was not up to me, it was up to Bravo. There were many great candidates and they liked the chemistry between Victoria Webb and me. There is a little bit of friendly opposition between us, too."
SCS: Did you ever get to meet Liz Claibourne?
Tim Gunn: "Regretfully, no. I would have really loved to meet her. A meeting was planned but never came about for scheduling reasons. She was around in recent years and came out and met with members of her staff."
SCS: Do you miss Parsons?
Tim Gunn: My office at Liz Claibourne looks out at Parsons, so I see it every day! And I am named the Honorary Chair of the fashion department.
We were then interrupted for book signings. He was so warm to anyone who came up, signing his book (which was free with a $100 purchase…I saw a lot of books.) He was calling people’s mothers on their phone, taking pictures with Tim Gunn bobble head dolls, autographing pieces of paper. Women were gushing, and he allowed them to take pictures with him, and re-takes if necessary. Such a nice and genuine guy.
Back to my questions while he was signing books.
SCS: Do you think that Project Runway will last for many more seasons?
Tim Gunn: Are fashion designers going away? There will always be a new crop of talent. And we look for designers who are serious about fashion as a career.
SCS: Our magazine follows all the fashion weeks and fashion trends. Do you see any recent trend that you like?
Tim Gunn: The wide belt as an accessory. It can flatter any sized woman.
SCS: How do you think you differ from other style guidance television celebrities on Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style?
Tim Gunn: I want people to stay true to who they are. I’m not going to make them wear purple if they don’t like purple. I don’t want to change anyone.
And no one wants to change Tim Gunn!
Photos: John Dziekan