A few weeks ago, Peter and I went to see Tim Gunn at our favorite mall, Westfield Valley Fair. If you don’t know us, Tim Gunn is the designers’ mentor on our favorite show, Project Runway. Tim Gunn is himself an icon of elegant, classic style. I follow his advice in A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style; at some point (I think here), Peter managed to channel the Tim Gunn philosophy, so he can apply it to himself as well as to me.
The event turned out to include a lot more than time in the presence of Tim Gunn.
We had to spend $100 on Liz Claiborne or Juicy Couture clothes in order to actually meet Tim Gunn close up. Now I’m not a Liz Claiborne or Juicy Couture type of person, so I was pessimistic about finding such clothes in time. As it turned out, it took a good hour to get to Valley Fair (normally a 20 minute drive), because every other fashionista within 300 miles was eager to see the style guru too.
We did arrive in time before the show, and found the mall buzzing with events. MAC cosmetics had set up a booth with professional make-up artists, and I received a wonderful update of my look–for free. There was someone else offering hair consultations down the row, but I didn’t want to miss out of having a good view of Tim Gunn, so Peter and I scouted for a place to stand. (I also hadn’t called in quick enough to get seating for the event.) We found a place on the balcony overlooking the stage, next to a pair of fashionistas who’d driven down from Sacramento, and bought some Liz Claiborne at Macy’s that morning so they could meet him in person.
Of course, Tim Gunn was great. The show featured models wearing clothes from the selected lines. It wasn’t just a clothes show: Tim Gunn commented on each look and pointed out how it was put together, and how it could be adapted for different occassions.
Peter and I got some great ideas for looks. And both we and the Sacramento fashionistas were looking at Juicy in a new way: clearly, the line has expanded beyond short shorts with the word JUICY written on the butt. For instance, this look convinced Peter I should get myself some high-heeled brown boots and try on skinny jeans:
After the show, Tim Gunn took questions from the audience, and we learned that not only was Season 6 of Project Runway completed, so was the season which followed. He encouraged others in the audience to get into the fashion industry. I think it’s fair to say he’s a fashion and good taste evangelist.
Both Neil and Kelly were getting antsy–and Neil needed to be at Stanford for a Mandelbrot competition later that day, so we went home without checking out the many other events of the Westfield Style tour. We did, however, pop into Macy’s, where I did buy myself skinny pants and and big sweater. It wasn’t the right brands, but it was enough to get myself a gift bag from the mall which included coupons, snacks, and some cosmetics. And we saw Tim Gunn schmoozing up close with his fans who’d made the prerequisite purchases.
Maybe Peter and I can meet him in person some day. In the meantime, we’ll just have to aspire to quality, taste, and style in our appearance.