For anyone that’s been watching Project Runway since it first hit the airwaves in 2004, there’s a special place in our hearts for Tim Gunn. The well-spoken, perfectly appointed administrator at Parsons School of Design became an instant favorite with the show’s fans. He encouraged, inspired, bolstered and consoled the contestant designers as they sewed their way to try to achieve fashion and television stardom.
A New Tim Gunn Emerges on Project Runway Season 8
Gunn’s empathy with the designers has always been apparent. And we’ve often grimaced with him as he takes on his weekly task of telling eliminated designers to clean up their space and get out of Dodge, or in this case, New York.
But this season’s premiere episode hinted at a different Tim. No longer is he the designers’ academic friend, he now brings the keen insight needed in his current job as chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne to the sewing room, and it shows as he makes his rounds to review the designs in progress.
Employing the Socratic Method with a Raised Eyebrow
Take, for example, his one eyebrow-raised reaction to seeing Casanova’s more than skimpy runway design. The ever-kind Tim tried to guide the misguided designer with the Socratic method of questioning him to teach a lesson. “There’s a lot a skin that will be showing, yes? Is it sexy or is it vulgar?” When Casanova voted for sexy, Tim had a one word response: “Really?”
The best moment came next, when Tim spoke with Jason Troisi about his throw the kimono on the model backwards design. Again he questioned the designer in an atttempt to give him some guidance, but when Jason clearly didn’t get the hint, Tim gave the camera a look of absolute disbelief while adjusting his glasses. That moment truly made the whole show worth watching.
Tim Gunn’s More Serious Tone
Even when Tim says some of his classic lines we know by heart – “You have some decisions to make,” “Don’t overthink,” “It’s looking a little matronly,” “It worries me,” “Make it work,” – they’re said in a much more serious tone than in prior years. A tone more akin to your boss speaking to you rather than a friend.
And bravo for Tim! For those of us who’ve winced at the TV screen when designers didn’t show Tim enough respect, it’s a welcome change. And if any of this season’s designers are inclined to disregard what Tim has to say, beware; you may be interviewing with him for your next job at season’s end.