On "Project Runway," he plays the steadfast arbiter of style, the perpetually calm father-figure, the mentor who commands to contestants, "Make it work."
But in his new book, Tim Gunn doesn't play nice. He outs the divas and dictators of the fashion world one by one and eviscerates a few Hollywood celebrities as well.
"Gunn's Golden Rules," on sale today, offers insight into the upbringing and etiquette of the "Project Runway" personality and Liz Claiborne chief creative officer by dispensing juicy gossip about the famous people who violate his standards of decency. With dirt like this out in the open, New York's spring/summer fashion week, which starts Thursday, might turn from a high society schmooze fest into a no holds barred free-for-all.
On fighting Michael Kors , designer and "Project Runway" judge: An interviewer once asked me, "Who would win in a fight, you or Michael Kors?" "Oh that's easy: Michael Kors," I said. "Because I'm a hair puller, and he barely has any hair. There's not enough to hold on to."
On Lindsay Lohan's aptitude for fashion design: A New York magazine reporter asked me at a party how I felt about Lindsay Lohan designing for Emanuel Ungaro. I was taken aback because I hadn't heard anything about it until then. I said that if it was true, "It's got to be a publicity stunt. Or a crack-smoking board of directors?" How I said it was a little blunt, but I stand by the sentiment. I mean, Lindsay Lohan knows how to buy things, but does she know how to design? And if she does, then at that level?
On Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' penchant for putting high heels on their 3-year-old daughter, Suri: Speaking of inappropriate, have you seen all the tabloid photos of three-year-old Suri Cruise wearing heels? It's outrageous. People say, "She's setting a fashion standard." I say, "Preposterous!" At three? It's not appropriate. If you're going to the play ground to play, you should wear sneakers -- Mary Janes at the very most. ... I agree with the people who have said it sexualizes her. High heels are meant to make women look longer and leaner. That's not necessary for little girls. We don't want alluring little girls. There's something sick about it.
On designer Diane Von Furstenberg's curious demand for a hot dog at a fashion industry event in New York City: "I need a hot dog," she announced to me in her languid voice ... "Why is there no food at these things?" Diane asked me. "They fill you with booze but give you nothing to eat. Do you think there's a hot-dog vendor on the street? Oh, and I haven't any money."
This struck me as a little odd. Remember, this is Princess Diane von Furstenberg, now divorced from the prince and married to a member of American royalty, the billionaire Barry Diller. She had a car and driver sitting out front. Surely there were a few dollars in there for tolls and such? But no.
"Don't worry," I assured her. "I can treat us each to a hot dog. Let's see what we can find outside."
According to Gunn, they exit the event and in the absence of a hot dog vendor, head to a diner.
While I tried to catch the eye of a waitperson so we could sit down, the famished Diane grew impatient. After sighing heavily, she called out to the rather cavernous space, "I need a hot dog! Someone, anyone, please bring me a hot dog!"