Last night I hosted a get together that can only be described as a perk of my job. Some of the best and brightest "Project Runway" fans got together in the West Village to watch the show interactively, so to speak... with a man who's suave, debonaire, all knowing, and kind. He is the king of Parsons and the den father we all wish we had, Mr. Tim Gunn.
Before the event, speculation and anticipation abounded. TV Producer and wit-about-town Liza Persky said, "Here's the thing about Tim Gunn. I live and breathe by what he says. When he goes in that design room and he's staring at the pieces - if he goes 'I don't know' I gasp or think 'They're out..' If you don't listen to him you're crazy and don't deserve to be there. It's a gift that he can just have a psychic pre-warning of what's to come. I would feel the best I've ever felt if he complemented me. Just don't ever question Tim Gunn, that's all I'm saying. And he's so sweet. OK, I have a little crush on him I think." Most of the women dressed purposefully down in order to avoid any attempt at overtly seeking approval or provoking comments from the man who commands their respect. The ravishing Kim Parker was concerned that Mr. G would arrive with a bag of scissors, 150 bucks, a trip to Mood, and a challenge.
Mr. Gunn arrived promptly at 8:30 dressed to the nines, on a crutch from a recent mishap, and holding two bottles of beautiful wine. He was greeted by a group anxious to hear his take on everything from Santino to the Chinese food. This was not any ordinary group - the hardcore fans included Palm Restaurant heir Bruce Bozzi, super-hot Broadway director Joe Mantello, and super-hot - Everything Sarah Jessica Parker - not to mention my boss, Bravo Queen Bee Lauren Zalaznick. These are people who have done and seen it all. Mr. Mantello, for one, is about to direct Julia Roberts in her Broadway debut, yet I think I'd never seen him more amped up. There were 12 in all who were so enraptured with the fashion genius that I am surprised no one jumped on his lap.
"OK, now that he's here - I can confirm that I have more than a crush on him. I might be in love," Liza whispered to me at the chinese buffet. Liza knew she was barking up the wrong tree but there are two things she can't stop - the beat and her emotions.
At first the questions for Tim were measured and technical about how he likes the show and experience (he loves it!), whether he worries about crossing the line by telling the designers what to do (he doesn't ever tells them what to do, just gives them opinions and things to look out for!), and his general opinions on the current crop of contestants (which bravotv.com readers can check out on his very own blog on another page!)
But as 10 pm - showtime - approached, the crowd was feverish, like lager louts waiting for David Beckham. It was fun watching with a group of people who so hunger for and appreciate what they are watching. There were many laughs, entrance applause for Tim every time he arrived onscreen, generous encouragement and support of his rather weak skating skills, and a lot of handicapping of the runway show and eliminations to come.
During a commercial, Tim shared a story that when he and the designers were in the van heading to the skating rink, the group still had not figured out that they were being challenged with a skating outfit. They stopped for over an hour to wait for the crew to finish setting up at the skating rink. Where did they stop? In front of a prison! We all laughed at the notion of the spandex jumpsuit-clad designers wondering if they were being dragged into a prison to design new uniforms for the convicts.
The room was mixed about Emmett's departure but almost uniformingly rooting for Santino to stay in the competition. There were a lot of detailed questions for Tim about exactly the nature of what the judges look for from the fashions. Tim feels that they are looking for innovation and craftsmanship - a voice, something new and fresh.
By the time the show was over, they were cats, Tim was cat-nip... and it was a free-for-all.
"Where are you during the runway shows?" they asked. "I'm in the back of the room watching," he calmly replied. "But do you talk to the judges or have any say?" they begged. "No I have nothing to do with the judges," he calmly replied.
"When do the designers eat? We never see them eat!" they queried. "They have dinner breaks," he calmly replied.
"But does that time get taken out of the time that they have for the challenges," they specified. "No it does not - they can eat at their stations if they like," he calmy replied.
"Yes but WHAT do they eat and do they go out to eat?" they attacked! "The food is always brought in for them and it is different every meal," he calmly replied.
"Yes but WE DON'T SEE THEM EAT!!!! The show needs to be 2 hours! We want to see them eat!" the wolves cried.
It was getting too crazy. It was after midnight and maybe Tim was tiring of all this madness. I remembered something. "Guess what you guys - you do see the contestants eat in next week's episode! I just remembered, you're gonna see them eat!" I pleaded. That seemed to calm everyone down for a moment.
The questions continued until about 1 and the night ended with lots of hugs, plans to do it again, and further love for the King of Parsons.
Liza called this morning with a confession. "I DID dress for Tim last night. I was praying he'd say something about my shirt. I got it at a store called "Forever 21" because I wanted to be hip and cool. I took a risk, which the judges seem to respond to. When I first saw him he put his hand up to his chin, paused, and I thought he was going to say 'I don't know about this - I'm concerned' but he said nothing, thank God. I was actually relieved. I am absolutely in love with him. I don't want him to ever be upset or anything to happen to him. If I heard from you that he was ever in a bad mood or if I ever see Santino give him grief, I swear - I'll start crying."
You're not alone Liza. We all wish the best for Mr. Tim Gunn!