Tim Gunn is "a major arbiter of style," according to Entertainment Weekly, and the host of Bravo's "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style." He is also CCO at Liz Claiborne, Inc, where he helps shape a more compelling product and attract top talent.
Gunn served as Chair of the Department of Fashion Design at Parsons, where he worked for more than 23 years. There, he invigorated the curriculum for the 21st century and, under his command, strengthened the school's position as the leader in fashion design education in the world. Gunn also authored Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style, where he challenges every reader to "make it work."
Meet Tim Gunn
Expertise: Design and cultural history
Location: New York, NY
Background: I taught design for 29 years and am currently the Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claiborne inc. and mentor on the Emmy nominatedProject Runway. My new book, Gunn's Golden Rules (published in September 2010) is a New York Times bestseller.
Why did you curate this particular product?: I'm obsessed with architecture, architectural models and miniatures in general. As a kid, I was inseparable from my Lego building blocks and, later, I built paper models of buildings, the most ambitious being Ludwig II's Bavarian fairytale castle Neuschwanstein. I discovered Timothy Richards' work in a Gumps catalog and then found his website. I've been smitten ever since.
Which Timothy Richards models do you own yourself? Six: the Radcliffe Camera, Oxford; Somerset House 1786; Houghton Hall 1722-35; 10 Downing Street doorway: Hopetoun House doorway; The Victoria & Albert Museum doorway.
Favorite meal: I love to cook, but I'm all about basics. I make a great meatloaf that is a dumbed down version of a Craig Claiborne recipe. I serve it with real mashed potatoes, which I like to be very lumpy.
Recent purchase: A reproduction of an 18th Century Chippendale-style gilt frame mirror (from ABC Home & Carpet). It hangs in the entrance of my apartment and reflects the view that I have up Amsterdam Avenue to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Hidden talent: Nothing about me is hidden! But some people may not know that I studied classical piano for 12 years.
Book/film recommendation: Oh, this is a tough one, because I'm a book and film-aholic and my taste is both is extremely diverse. Anyone who hasn't read Adam's Navel: a Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form by Michael Sims should do so. It's not only riveting, but it will give you insight into why so many of us are plagued with back problems. Movies? If you haven't seen Funny Face, then you must. It's a frothy confection about the fashion world circa 1957.
Restaurant recommendation: I'm fortunate to live in the restaurant capitol of the world. However, I seldom go out to eat, because I find it very therapeutic to cook at home. But when I do go out, it tends to be for a celebration, and no restaurant is more celebratory for me than Gotham Bar and Grill in the Village. With 25 years of lineage, it's Alfred Portale's masterpiece.
If I had $20, I'd... : Treat myself to a taxi to work instead of taking the subway.
Transformative travel experience: Hong Kong. I visited this fabulous city, which I dubbed "Manhattan on the Riviera," twice a year for eight years for my work as Associate Dean at Parsons School of Design. Hong Kong is a staggering amalgam of old-world exotic and high-end technology. Staggering.
Favorite neighborhood: My own! I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is one of the few neighborhoods in the city that is quiet, leafy green, provides ease of access to both Riverside and Central parks, and is sans scene. I spent 18 years living downtown (the West Village and Chelsea), but give me the UWS any day!
Dream holiday: Solitary confinement. Anywhere.
If I could solve one problem, it would be: Repealing laws in 29 States that make it legal to fire an individual for being gay. How can we fix "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or successfully advocate for gay marriage when this anachronistic atrocity persists? It's the 21st Century, everyone!
I wish people cared more about: Good manners and being respectful of one another. I write about this in my New York Times bestseller, Gunn's Golden Rules.
Recent big aha!: When wearing my fashion hat, I'm continually perplexed by the pervasiveness of cropped pants. Recently, I had an epiphany: that the appeal of cropped pants has little to do with fashion and everything to do with the convenience of the fit; that is, they only require one dimension of fit: the waist.
The world would be a better place if: I feel that I should be responding while wearing a tiara and "Miss America" sash. Please see "I wish people cared more about..." And if more people possessed a sense of humor, then that would help, too.