Just a Minute With: Tim Gunn of "Project Runway"

Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:15am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Tim Gunn, fashion guru and urbane mentor to the budding designers on TV's "Project Runway", was forced to swap his impeccable tailored look for something more casual when the fashion reality show moved from New York to laid-back Los Angeles this season.

So with the show finally underway on U.S. TV again after a legal hiatus of almost a year, look out for Gunn dressed in -- flip-flops?!

Gunn, 56, the polite voice of reason and constructive advice for the competing designers, talked to Reuters about the return of the show -- and how free-wheeling LA changed some of his own ideas.

Q: How did you feel about the show's move from New York to Los Angeles and the city's very different approach to fashion.

A: "Los Angeles is a more casual place. Executives dress more casually. Having lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel, you see studio executives wearing a suit and an open shirt but no tie. I would go to the workroom with the designers every day at the beginning wearing a suit. But finally I thought, I've got to get with it. There is an episode (where) you'll find me in flip flops. You won't find that in New York, but you'll find it in LA. And when the show returns to LA, I'm packing the flip flops!"

Q: Do more experienced designers on the show have an advantage over the younger ones?

A: Not necessarily. In my experience, the more experience one has, the more second guessing or over-thinking one does versus the younger and less experienced contestants who have an ease and agility on how they attack a problem .... It all begins and ends when we go fabric shopping. Derailment, generally speaking, has to do with materials that are not appropriate or that they are not familiar with and then the whole thing goes awry ... If you've never worked with silk charmeuse -- are you crazy? Drop it!."

Q: How much input do you get in decisions the judges make about who wins a "Project Runway" challenge and who goes home?   Continued...

<p>TV personality Tim Gunn arrives to attend the 19th annual GLAAD Media awards in New York March 17, 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>