“Project Runway” is back… finally! Heidi! Tim Gunn! Michael Kors! Designers! Models! In honor of the sixth season kick off tonight at 10pm on Lifetime, we asked Tim to share his five favorites “Runway” moments with Glam Slam.
“I have so many favorite moments from “Project Runway” that it would take hours to list them all, but here’s a nibble,” he says.
The USPS Post Office Challenge. As this was our first season, no one knew who we were or what we were doing. I arrived in Hoboken, NJ with the producers, crew and five designers - Austin, Jay, Kara Saun, Robert and Wendy. After delivering the challenge and establishing the two teams, we launched out onto the street to, what else, deliver mail, real mail. The designers were dressed in USPS uniforms, so they looked quasi-official, but it was more likely that they were going to a costume party. I followed team Jay/Kara Saun/Robert as they proceeded up Washington Street. Passersby were rubber-necking over the parade and one couple remarked, “I don’t know what’s going on, but that looks really &$&*ed up…” They were correct!
The following happened off-camera. It was the Makeover Challenge and I was taking the designers on a field trip for mani-pedi’s, a reasonable component of a makeover. While walking to the salon, I was asked whether they could have more muslin (the inexpensive cotton textile that is used for garment prototyping). “More muslin?” I asked with deliberate incredulity. “You’ve already used four times the amount of muslin that was used in season one! What’s going on?” The designers - Chloe, Daniel V, Kara, Nick and Santino - looked at me sheepishly. Nick became spokesperson. He said, “Zulema [the last designer out] has been taking it [the muslin] and hiding it.” I replied, “Hiding it? Why?” “To keep the rest of us from using it,” he responded. Then, I heard a confessional diatribe about Zulema and her alter-ego Shatangy, basically a good-versus-evil doppelganger, and how she terrorized the workroom. “Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier when I could have done something about it?” I asked with even more incredulity. Santino responded: “We were afraid…” Santino was afraid?
“Ah, Paris.” That’s a refrain from the world’s most annoying individual, Vincent, when the designers learned that we were taking a trip to the birthplace of fashion, Paris. On our first night there, I was taking the designers to dinner. This sounded lovely, but for a concern that the producers and I shared about Vincent’s vegan diet and whether our restaurant could accommodate his needs. We called ahead and were assured that all would be well. Upon arrival, I informed Vincent that the restaurant had prepared a vegan meal of several courses for him. He turned to me and with a hostile look declared, “I don’t want it!” I replied, “What? But if not this then what will you eat?” He found a chalkboard menu, looked it up and down, and pointed to - “The leg of lamb!” I practically choked, because we had spent the entire season driven to despair by his singular needs and demands and responding to them with great deftness. I sputtered, “The leg of lamb? But you’ve been a vegan all these past weeks! What happened?” He responded, “When in Rome…” You can’t make this stuff up.
The WWE Women Wrestlers Challenge. I still laugh out loud when I recall the full-tilt anxiety attacks that the designers experienced as they listened to guttural grunts, groans and shrieks of unknown origin while I kept them corralled outside the Parsons auditorium. They were wrecks! Posing with my signature furrowed brow, I was trying to look concerned and sympathetic about their fears, but knowing what was on the other side - women wrestlers in leopard print unitards in a regulation ring - I had to fight back an attack of howling laughter. It was a true test of my self-discipline!
Oh, the Fashion Genre Challenge. It was during this challenge that I encountered the metaphorical straw that broke my back with the perpetually sniping Kenley. Kenley was designing a Hip Hop look for Leanne, but I couldn’t understand her concept or her execution, and I was most specifically concerned about her skinny jeans idea. When I expressed my concern, she hurled such vitriol and hubris at me - “What would YOU know! You’re just an OLD man!” — that I began to doubt my own judgment about fashion and popular culture. So, consider my beaming DELIGHT, when our guest judge, LL Cool J, asked Kenley, “What do skinny jeans have to do with Hip Hop?” I was validated! I wanted to run from my seat in the back of the auditorium and hug him!