DarkMode/LightMode
Light Mode

Tim Gunn Wants His ‘Guide to Style’ To Help You Get It Right

[IMG:L]Tim Gunn’s ready to “carry on” and “make it work” this fall with his new show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style. The fashion guru, who quickly reached celebrity status as the design mentor on Project Runway, hit the streets with his accomplice (and model) Veronica Webb, on a mission to help serial fashion offenders around the country. With a copy of Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality Taste and Style in hand, the duo assist their volunteers with shopping tips, wardrobe selection, finding the right fit and more.

Gunn’s new catchphrase, straight from his classroom at Parson’s the New School for Design, sums it up: “We can’t want you to succeed more than you do.”

- Advertisement -

Hollywood.com: What makes Guide to Style different from the other makeover shows on TV?
Tim Gunn:
Well, there are a number of matters. For one, it’s not an intervention; we don’t have family or loved ones contacting us saying, “Well you have to help my spouse or my sister or my friend.” These women have self-declared their need for help. And basically, they share being in a fashion rut. So that’s one for beginners and, also, Veronica and I are not pulling up in a van filled with clothes. We’re not telling them what to wear. It’s really an education about who they are, with whom they interact and how they want the world to perceive them. It’s the semiology of dressing. It’s all about the message that our clothes sends and how the world perceives that. So it’s very individualized for each person.

HW: What was the most common problem these women had?
TG:
We find with these mothers, these fairly recent mothers, that there is such guilt associated with doing anything for themselves and that means getting their fashion style right. They don’t make it a priority because they feel guilty about it.

HW: Can you explain the phrase “Your style, my rules.”
TG:
 It is very individualized. It is about, “who are you?” and “what do you want to be?” and “how far are you from that goal?” And then we come in with guidelines and some ground rules about how to achieve this. But we’re not about turning you into somebody you’re not. And I think the most satisfying thing, in a way, for Veronica and me is that when we have the reveal at the end of the show and family and friends see this greatly enhanced person they say, “But she still looks like so-and-so…you didn’t change her and I thought you’d change her into somebody completely different.”

HW: How did you find Veronica?
[IMG:R]TG: I was crossing every finger, every arm, every leg, and every toe that Veronica would say yes. It felt like it was a marriage proposal. We’d never really met until we did this audition together and we really did click. And she’s as brainy as she is beautiful and I just thought, “This is it. I’ve got to have her.”

HW: Is your television persona a true reflection of who you are, because people are just so taken by you.
TG:
The good thing is that I really am that person, so I don’t have to turn something on and turn it off again. I really believe in helping people and I love doing that. No one’s well served by mean spirited behavior. Educators have to support and tell the truth.

HW: Speaking of always telling the truth, how do you handle people who just don’t care about fashion?
TG:
About six months ago I was on Capitol Hill advocating for the Design Piracy Prohibition Act and I had more elected people, senators and congresswomen, saying to me, “Oh, don’t look at how I [dress] – don’t pay any attention to my clothes. I’m not a fashion person.” I finally lost my patience with this and I said to several of them who were standing in front of me, “You’re in an elected office. Don’t you feel that your clothes send a message to your constituents about who you are and don’t you think it impacts how they perceive you? Don’t you think you should care about fashion?” Because I think everybody needs to be concerned about the message that their clothes are sending.

- Advertisement -

HW: Is there someone in politics or in the public eye you would like to make over? Someone who’s not a size zero?
TG: 
A  presidential candidate who’s disappointing me is Hillary Clinton. I wish the fashion trajectory I thought she was beginning as First Lady had continued. I became very excited when she was the senator from New York–and I just find her uniform to be, forgive me, a kind of a crashing bore. I wish she’d step it up a notch.

HW: Who’s doing it well?
TG: 
Angelina Jolie is pretty consistent, I think, in doing it well. But, you know, we use people like Raquel Welch. I mean, a woman who’s not 20 and not a size 2 and she’s absolutely fabulous. Oprah is another one.

HW: Is there a fashion faux pas that you wish would just go away?
TG:
The bare midriff! I just don’t believe in showing skin that people don’t need to see and I find it’s as unattractive on a 16-year-old girl as it is on a 60-year-old woman. Once I saw [a sweat suit] in the orchestra of the theater. Orchestra seats at a theater here in New York! I thought, this has got to stop.

HW: If someone only had, say, $200 to kick-start their fall wardrobe, what pieces would you recommend they buy?
TG:
I’d say if you don’t have a basic black dress, you’d better get one. And you can certainly do that for $200 or under. You can achieve these things on a budget. And you can make just as many fashion mistakes with a lot of money as you can with just a little. It’s all about fit. Most peoples’ fashion foibles have nothing to do with the items that they’re in or the design they’re selecting. It has to do with the size label.

[IMG:L]HW: Which Project Runway alum do you think would most benefit from your fashion advice?
TG:
Oh that’s a great question…I don’t know. Maybe Diana Eng? She’s our little math and science nerd and she kept saying her own personal style wasn’t a priority for her. But if you’re going to be in fashion and especially if you’re going to be a designer, you’d better send a message about what you can do for your customer.

HW: Do you always agree with the judges on Runway like when Jeffrey won last season?
TG:
No, actually I’m very fond of Jeffrey. I do not always agree with their decisions–and wait until you see the season coming up. There will be a lot of debates at home!

- Advertisement -

HW: Would you ever consider doing a crossover show with Project Runway where the contestants would design for the women you help on Guide to Style?
TG:
It’s a fantastic idea. The only thing is that, given the premise of our show, our subjects would need to be creative collaborators with the designers because our show is all about who you are. How do you then dress yourself as opposed to having a Project Runway designer say, “Ah-ha, I see you in this silhouette and with these proportions and this color”?

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style premieres at 10/9c Sept. 6 on Bravo.

- Advertisement -