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April 18, 2007
A very busy man

Gunn.jpg

Tim Gunn and I have several things in common: He mentors on "Project Runway"; I watch it. He loves fashion and can afford it; I love fashion and shop at Target (where I can afford it).

He has two jobs; I have two blogs.

Anyway, I caught up with this incredibly busy man the other day. Speaking on the phone in New York, he filled me in on what's keeping his days - and nights - occupied.

For one: The newest addition to his fashion plate is his book, "Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style," which he co-authored with Kate Moloney, assistant chairwoman of the fashion design department at Parsons The New School for Design.

Tim actually admits he never "invited this upon myself, but the editors (at Abrams Image) approached me about doing a book."

The guide, which is a prelude to a new show soon to come to Bravo (which also produces the wildly successful "Project Runway"), is not his "prescription for fixing everyone's fashion foibles," he hastens to add.

"It's more about asking yourself some simple questions: 'Who am I, with whom do I interact, what do I want to achieve?' It's more fashion therapy than anything," Tim says.

He says he makes no assumptions because, after all, "what works on my friend doesn't necessarily work for me."

As for the upcoming show (which has no set air date), Tim says it will focus on the everyday woman and taking a look at what's in her closet. He even did sort of a test run on a recent episode of "Oprah," in which 10 women were going through a makeover. Even though there were stylists on hand, Tim ended up taking the women to Neiman Marcus because they weren't happy with the clothes that were pre-selected for them.

"There were tears, stubborness and, eventually, an epiphany for all of them, including one woman who was dead set on just wearing jeans," he says. "When we gave them back to her, it was like she was receiving her kidnapped child."

In other words, you have to take who you are and just make it better.

As for "Project Runway," the nationwide auditions have ended. The team made stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York. Tim says shooting should start in late May and run through June.

As for the design talent? "We had our highest level yet," he says. In Season 3, he says, there was more of a dialogue about design than on clothing that's just poorly made.

"This season, it's stronger still," he says. "Of course, we had our share of misguided nut cases who showed up (at the auditions), but overall, it was rewarding."

The contestants have been narrowed to about 120; between 12 and 16 will actually compete.

Add to this incredible mix of responsibilities, Tim also has assumed his job as chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc., where he's overseeing more than 46 brands.

"It's absolutely thrilling to be working with such incredible designers," he says.

But is it all too, too much?

"I hope it doesn't kill me," Tim says, laughing, "but I'm not complaining. I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world."

And one of the best-dressed!

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