A Brief, Light Evening of the Soul with Tim Gunn

Style expert and Project Runway "mensch" Tim Gunn was at the 92nd St. Y last night for an interview with NY1's Bud Mishkin. He was, honestly, more articulate and charming than expected. There were no awkward moments when interviewee or interviewer (also excellent) stumbled around to find the thread of a conversation. Gunn just nattered on about his childhood, his tenure at Parsons, his sudden fame, and, of course, his outlook on what ladies should be wearing. Really, I can't tell you how delightful he was (sorry, commenter AndSheSaid) and am sorry that I couldn't get some kind of recording of the evening. You'll accept, I hope, a listicle summary after the jump.

  • Tim Gunn had a terrible stutter as a child and it made him an introverted yet creative little boy (who also "preferred the company of adults.") He was obsessed with LEGOs and built elaborate structures for hours on end, alone in his room. Also, he received a toy castle once from his father, and proceeded to make outfits for the little guards that came with it.
  • His father, way high up in the FBI, was understandably a bit aloof and removed. But he coached some kids' sports teams in the Washington D.C. area, none of which Gunn was a part of. Until he discovered swimming, which "is clean and you don't sweat," and he began to compete. His father became a coach.
  • Tim's FBI father was the "right hand man" to J. Edgar Hoover, who Tim is convinced he saw dressed as Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy. )
  • Tim was wearing a black suit with a blue shirt and a purple tie. Do not ask me for more details (if for some reason you happen to care) because I am not a fashion person. Currently I am wearing a potato sack with Kleenex boxes for shoes.
  • Tim is bigoted against New Jersey. When talking about a change-resistant woman on his Guide to Style show, he said something to the effect of "well then go back to New Jersey with your cargo capris." Then later, discussing his father working as an FBI agent, said he worked "in Newark. And you can imagine what that was like." My born and raised Bayonne, New Jersey companion was none too happy.
  • His overhaul of the Parsons fashion design program included ending famous designer apprenticeships and making students more responsible for their own creative destiny.
  • He was so nervous to teach once that he vomited in the parking lot and could not stop his knees from buckling.
  • He is "the luckiest guy in the world" for all the unexpected fame he's gained of late. His mother is becoming more and more fame hungry, though, demanding magazine articles with pictures and wanting that Nina Garcia to stop doing fashion commentary for People.
  • There was a surprising number of visibly straight men in the audience.
  • If you go by the fashion examples he cited, there are essentially two looks: classicist (Sally Field) and bohemian (Tilda Swinton.) Never the two shall meet, though people exist somewhere in between (I guess?)
  • The producers of Project Runway only have a hand in the eliminations if there is a stalemate.
  • Tim does not like What Not To Wear and other fashion "intervention" shows.
  • Tim Gunn believes I should forge my own path and is so nice that I would like to hug him and have him make tea and we'd sip it and chat and chat about nothing and everything and the world would be perfect.
  • I am happy to report, he really, genuinely, did not seem sad.
Were you there too? What did I egregiously omit?