Thursday, February 16, 2006

Transcript of Tim's Podcast - #11 "What's Your Line?"

Thanks, Joanne!

Hi, I'm Tim Gunn and this is my podcast for Project Runway Episode 11. What's Your Line.

Heidi instructs our designers that they are each to make an evening dress that
demonstrates the work that they would show at OFW at Bryant Park. So they
have got to rally all their resources, wrap their brain around the concept for their
collection and create a signature design. It's going to be a big challenge. In our last challenge, Nick was out, Chloe won and that brings us down to four designers, one of whom will be eliminated in this challenge, and the remaining three will move on to OFW.

So that just heightens the degree of anxiety and frankly stress that exists in the workroom. I have to stress how incredibly important OFW is in the whole scheme of fashion. This is the first fashion show for the first fashion week in a whole string of fashion weeks that happen worldwide. It all premieres in NY, we're really the focus and being even more blunt about it, Paris and London look at what happens in NY and those collections are tweaked accordingly. They see what we're doing and they - I won't say that they follow, but they're certainly influenced. And it's an advantage to being first...In some ways you could say it's a disadvantage, but we're the leaders and I'm proud of that, I'm very proud of that.



LauraK said...


For our designers, who are inexperienced w/this degree of exposure, this opportunity is simply
incredible. 7th on 6th, which is the organization that runs OFW and fashion weeks worldwide, has
infinitely more designers wanting to show during fashion week than can be accommodated, at least can be
accommodated at Bryant Park. Designers can be showing offsite, they can be showing down in Nolita,
or anyplace in and around the city, but the OFW centerpiece is the Bryant Park tents and that's where the PR
show is and as I said, it's an incredible, incredible opportunity, and frankly, none of the designers who will
move on to show at OFW may ever show there again. They may be doing work that doesn't
require that they show at FW, I mean I simply hold this up to say that it is difficult to really
wrap one's brain around how huge this is and accordingly, we wanted the designers to have as cognizant an
understanding of that as possible, so we take a little field trip to 7th on 6's offices to meet
with Fern Mallas, who's the Executive Director of 7th on 6th and Fern is an icon in this industry, she is a very important spokesperson and figure and she knows everybody in town and for our designers to be sitting face to face with Fern
is really quite a wonderful experience. And she gives them very sage advice, she is clearly a
spiritual leader of fashion and of this event and she answers a lot of their questions - well
all of their questions that they present to her. But for me the most poignant moment was
when Daniel asked her, basically, what advice to you have for up and coming designers and her response
is "be nice". And she says I can't stress how important that is, and for me that was music
to my ears, because that's something I say to students at Parsons all the time, drop the
attitude, I know you're talented, I know you could clean up this whole industry, and be at
the top of the heap, but if you don't lose the attitude, people will not want to work with
you and Fern underscored that and it was just wonderful and delicious to hear.

So after our meeting with Fern, we go shopping at Mood, we have $300, that's our budget. And as I
have said in earlier Podcasts, this season is just became clear to me in a way that seems so
basic, but it became so clear to me that really everything that spells success for this
challenge, happens at Mood, it's all in the selection of the fabric. What are they choosing,
what's the color story, what's the weight of the fabric, and how does it correlate to their whole
design concept and if it's not right at Mood, it's not going to work. And it's that simple.
So I probably - well I shouldn't say probably I know, I know I spent more time than I
usually do, with that furrowed brow, standing and staring and worrying and trying to
interact with them as much as I could, just to make certain that they were making the decisions that
they needed to make - not my decisions, but their decisions. So I was probing and querying to
understand as well as I could what it is they were trying to do.

Our time at Mood varies from an hour to sometimes as little as 30 minutes and we return to the
workroom and the designers get busy doing what they do and it becomes clear that there is a lot
of tension that goes beyond just the regular stress level that everyone has about the fact that
this is the last challenge, someone is going to be out, and the rest of them are going off to
OFW. And the origin of this stress is Santino, to be perfectly honest, who has been
marginalized by the other designers because he's been difficult and he's been very obnoxious and
rather than sort of humbling himself and deciding that he's going to be a good boy he
becomes more obnoxious and hostile, in a way, but it's verbal hostility, nothing physical,
though given his size, that's, at least from where I stand, that's always another issue and
I've said that to him, I've said you know when you start behaving this way, it exacerbates
how people perceive you. I mean if you were 2 1/2 foot tall it would be a little different. So it's not pretty.

So the designs are progressing, there's a lot of silk charmeuse in the room,
actually I think everyone was using silk charmeuse, w/the exception of Santino, who was using sort
of a stretch chiffon, and the stretch actually, in the earlier stages of the challenge, I felt
the stretch really enhanced what he was trying to do. But I'll amend that later. But one of
my concerns was for Chloe, for Daniel and for Kara, is it just a dress. Is it just something pretty
basic, what are you doing about this that really is your signature. And to a degree, I was less
concerned about it with Chloe, silk charmeuse, evening, it sort of is her signature, I mean she does it
very well and she is masterful at her craft so I knew at least she would have success with
the fabric.

Kara? Oh God, this whole debate she had with herself about the back, is it a
racerback, is it this other more standard, and to be expected back. The racerback she felt
was sportswear, but she is sportswear, so why not incorporate that into your look? She was
just a mass of indecisiveness and this was becoming a pattern for her, I saw it with the
inspiration look where she didn't know what to do with that piece of yellow, that Miss
America, sash, happened with the flower challenge, but she had one of the most beautiful
dresses on the runway. And we saw more of it with Makeover, but a little less because Santino was
involved with those decisions and now with this challenge she kept saying I don't know what to
do, I don't know what to do, and I kept saying just do it. Just let it develop, let it
evolve and by all means use the racerback, there was no reason not to, and frankly it looked
beautiful, but then sort of like the Flower Challenge, she couldn't figure out what to do with the
skirt and - well, how many choices do you have I mean it's ugh.

So, Daniel. I don't know if in the actual episode, Daniel explains his inspiration for the collection, which is kind of
combination of Japanese apparel, I mean the kimono specifically and military embellishments,
buttons and braids and sashes and things of that sort and - but that was the inspiration, and
frankly I didn't see it in the dress. I mean for me it was, pretty, but what was so new
about it? What was so new?

The next morning, I come into the workroom and announce that we have a big surprise. They are designing
a dress that represents what they would show in a collection but the twist is that someone is going to
wear it and that isn't just any old someone, it is the sublime, divine, extraordinary, Iman, Supermodel
among Supermodels. Not only is Iman going to wear the dress, she's one of our judges, she's our
guest judge. So they crowd goes wild, they are thrilled, they are ecstatic and I had to
keep reminding them this dress is not a design for Iman, "what do you mean, Iman is going to wear
it?" It's not a design for Iman, Iman is our guest judge, she's looking at the clothes on the
runway and frankly she's shopping, what among those pieces would I want to wear, as opposed
to, "Oh Iman I'm designing this for you". Think back to the Nancy O'Dell challenge, our last
challenge from Season 1, they really were designing for Nancy O'Dell. She was going to wear
it, it had to fit into her whole sensibility and her whole aesthetic. This was not the case
with this. Who are you and what is Iman going to respond to. Well of course the retort,
from the designers was "but if I design the dress that she wants to wear and that's the
dress that wins, then why am I not designing for Iman?" I said because unless Iman is the
whole inspiration for your collection, and your collection is an homage to Iman, it doesn't make
any sense. So it's a matter of taste. You have to let things fall where they do.

So, that second day, we saw more of the development of what I'll call, the dull normal among
Daniel, and Kara and Chloe. I'll get back to Chloe. But Mr. Santino. That beautiful gold silhouette that I saw the
day before, suddenly, it was becoming his float in a parade, I mean this is a classic case
where the poor thing can't help himself. He had a swath of fabric covered with gold pailettes and big
pailettes, I mean they were the size of 1/2 dollars and it was very heavy and very powerful
visually and I kept asking him the day before, what are you doing with this, what are you
doing with this, I don't know, I don't know, and I said you've got to figure it out. And I
had my own thoughts and ideas which of course I can't share with him, but I had - I looked
at it and I was inspired by this fabric and the paillettes and I thought wow you could do this you
could do that. But he disarmed me, by what he did do. He cut it into rectangles and then
attached to the top of the fabric, in one place, so it had this drape and if you were
looking at it two dimensionally, it looked like a triangle but in fact it was a paragon, it had shape to
it, it was three dimensional, and they're all over the skirt, there's this swath of it coming across the
breast and it looked like a joke, I mean it looked like, I said to him I mean it's Gwynevere in a
Renaissance Fair, I mean what is this, and there was so much potential there and I just couldn't figure it
out and I asked him are you laughing at this too, because this is really disappointing and it
really really worries me but the poor thing can't help himself so at least it wasn't dull
normal but it was something else again and I thought this could be his Waterloo.

So, Chloe. I simply did not understand this seam and if you're listening to this you've already
seen it that ran from the top of her hips in the front and scooped down below the rear end.
First of all, why construct a garment that way at all secondly when you consider what it's
accentuating? It's the feature that most people that don't want to draw attention to, in fact
they're grateful for clothes that help hide those features. But this was not only not
hiding them it was putting a great big picture frame around them I couldn't fathom what she
was doing and it looked bad on the unattractive on the dress form and I thought God only knows how this is
going to look on Grace, Chloe's model. And when it was on Grace? It was - I mean, Grace does not have
a big rear end - she doesn't have any rear end, practically - and the way the dress sagged on her in
the back, it was beautiful - it fit her beautifully down to her hip but then it looked
like there was an inflated inner tube in her behind. It was incredibly unattractive, and
there wasn't even any way of taking it in because of how Chloe had constructed it. If there had
been a center seam it would have been something else, again. It could have at least been brought in and tightened, but not this, the
whole dress would have had to have been deconstructed and we didn't have time for that.

The evening of the second day, we had another little field trip. We go off to a club called
Suede and there's a very distinct purpose. The purpose is to have a little, a little party,
a little celebration of the work that they've achieved and where they've come in this whole series
and also to meet the final 4 from season 1 - we had Kara Saun and Jay and Austin, Wendy Pepper, regret ably
couldn't attend, she was off on a family camping trip and she just couldn't get back for
this and there was a lot of empathy expressed by Kara Saun in particular about how, you know guys I
really understand where you are with this and just don't lose track of your goals and just -
this is the final stretch and you've just got to make it and stay focused. Jay was Jay, you're
all going to fail, it's all going to be a big mess, our final show was a failure, however
you won, Jay, and you know so we had from one extreme to the other and then we had Austin who
was the head of the pep rally, and that was good, we needed that as well, of course he was
the one who was eliminated, but still there he is, alive well and designing and upbeat so for
whoever the fourth person is, they need to take notice of Austin's whole manner of character and
being and take a lesson from it. I love Austin, I love all of them.

Then we're back in the Design Room for a couple of hours, and then of course they have a few
hours in the morning, while they're in hair and makeup. So there was a lot of work to do, a
lot of work to do and I really didn't know how things were going to fall, on the judging
runway I didn't have a clue but I was decidedly worried about all four of them frankly and of
course had no idea what Iman would say and how she would respond to this. So the judges see
this work on the runway and Iman declares without hesitation that she is disappointed that she was
expecting more of them. Michael invokes his refrain which is I'm underwhelmed and you can
see in Nina's face that she shares his feelings. I understood. I understood perfectly. The only person I
wasn't underwhelmed by was Santino. But then how good is it to be overhelmed by Santino, I
don't know that it's a good thing at all. So our judges have a critique of the four designs
and Daniel's is simple and basic and in that regard disappointing, Chloe's is underwhelming, they
were expecting more from her, Heidi said something about the rear end and it was very
evident under those lights. Santino, well they're expecting Santino to be Santino and
Nina did say well editorially speaking this is the most powerful dress up there but in terms
of and she looks at Iman, wearability for you Iman, I don't know and Iman says you know I'm
not going to wear something like that.

Kara. Well the dress was a metaphor for how she was feeling. She didn't steam it, or even
get an iron near it, it was a mess, there were threads hanging from the hem, the hem was
uneven and the hem was too high, I mean, one of the cardinal sins of evening wear, is the
length has to be right and it's not a hard call I mean, she was dressing E, E's been her
model all along, she knows how tall she is, she knows how she is in a shoe, what was with
that? I mean, it's instant Mother of the Bride dress when you have that hem too short when it's full length
and it's just bad and it's old ladyish. There was no excuse as far as I was concerned, but
in her own way, Kara was saying, "take me".

While on the runway, Heidi presents the designers with the question that I would never want
to hear, which is who do you think shouldn't go to OFW. And she asked Chloe first and Chloe sites S
and says that she doesn't think he makes clothes very well and I don't recall that she said
anything about the content of his work but God knows she could have. The other three designers, Santino,
Chloe and Daniel all singled out Chloe and I was instantly reminded of some monologue in the design room,
I mean, it was something she was saying to herself, just saying as we get closer and closer
to presenting this work on the runway, in this final challenge, I don't know how much I want
this, if I want it at all. And I wish that she'd simply said that to herself in the privacy
of her own mind as opposed to saying it out loud because the designers didn't respond well
to it, they were quite shocked by it, called her on it and what did Santino say? I don't
know, something obnoxious, that goes w/o saying. I would imagine though if we were to give
a truth serum to the other three that they all would have said that because really it's
frightening and it's huge responsibility and it's the next 7 months of their lives, and only
one person is going to win, but the same investment is made by all of them and I understood it
and in a way it was another poignant moment for me, I thought well you know she's speaking
the truth I know but I think it's a truth that's shared by all of them, I don't' believe Chloe is
the only one feeling that way but the mistake was to have said it and of course the
designers used that. And in some ways it was an easy thing to site, and an easy thing to
use, I don't know that any of them actually sited it on the runway but it was certainly
planted in there head, I mean I don't think any one said "in the workroom Chloe said she didn't
know whether she wanted win" but it certainly implanted itself in their brains and I would
like to think that that was why they chose Chloe. Cause they were similarly shocked. So the
designers returned to the runway for the final word and Santino is the first to be singled out and he's
in and I'm surprised but pleased. Let's see what he can do. So Santino is going off to OFW.

Daniel wins and I'm surprised and pleased, yeah, I mean I think Iman said it's boring, but I can
jazz it up I can do something with it and really make it work and I thought if anyone can
she can. So she was really choosing, I think the word Michael used was template, that it
was just something she could dress up, we're all confident that she can do that.
So we have Kara and Chloe left on the runway and as much as I disliked Chloe's design, it
was well done, it was well made, except for the fit of the rear end and Kara's, was more of a
mess than i thought it was in the workroom, I hadn't scrutinized it on Eden and once up
there on the runway, the runway is elevated, you can see the shoes, you can see the
relationship of the runway to the hem of the dress and it wasn't good it wasn't good and Chloe
is in and Kara is out so we have a very moving moment backstage where all the designers in spite of
all the antipathy towards Santino, he's fully embraced. And with the exception of Kara,
they're all going on to OFW and they know what lies ahead is an intense time for all of
them. But Kara is going to be much missed by everyone and she did a great job to get this far
and in their own way everyone of them's a winner they really are and this last challenge,
it's the second season in a row, that it's been demonstrated that it's difficult and it's not
just that the challenge is difficult, I believe that the challenge is, it's the psychological wear
and tear, it's just too extreme to describe and they're all ready to crash and burn.

Thankfully now, they can, just for a few moments. Iman wears Daniel's dress on the red
carpet, she attends the PR premiere party for season two and looks simply ravishing,
ravishing! She did a, I mean Daniel did an incredible job and boy does Iman know how to
work it, so it's a great success for him and great for the show. So when I talk to you
again, it's going to be about the reunion show and I will give you the behind the scenes -
of the behind the scenes, it was - it was quite a show.

Cents and Sensibility said...

OK - Tim is starting to bug me with his Anti-Santino vibe... Particularly pointed is this quote,

"...he becomes more obnoxious and hostile, in a way, but it's verbal hostility, nothing physical, though given his size, that's, at least from where I stand, that's always another issue..."

Last season's Wendy Pepper was WAY more of a negative force on the show. Santino is GREAT TELEVISION!

For all you Santino fans - check out this cool T-shirt logo posted on his site:


Joanne said...

I think it's that Santino is an idiot - a rude, unprofessional, LIAR, who fought with the judges for - what? - 90 MINUTES because they didn't like his design? Can you imagine any of the designers from last year doing it? Santino is a jerk with no talent, in my opinion, and I assure you, it's not "sexual tension" on my part. I doubt it is on Tim Gunn's part either, although I wouldn't presume to say.

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

Okay, I'll fess up. I actually have grown to like Santino more and more as the series has gone on.

Granted, he's rude (and Wendy and Vanessa last year weren't?), loud and had questionable responses to his jumpsuit questions, but I don't think he's quite the villain he's made out to be.

I give him credit for a few reasons:

He's not afraid to push the envelope. I applaud his creativity and the fact that he uses it and would rather go too far than not far enough.

He's not afraid to stand up for a design he's created. He's one of the very few designers who really defended his stuff on the runway. The other designers would just meekly accept what the judges would say as gospel, but if Santino believed in what he designed, he let them know. Granted, should he yell at them, probably not, but at least he had the guts to stand up for what he put out there.

Over time, he tried to listen to the judges and was more respectful of them. This is most seen in his collection, which is tasteful and in some pieces, beautiful. He tried reining it in on some pieces and taking advice with a grain of salt.

He wasn't phony. What you saw was what you got and he just wanted to win the whole she-bang. After seeing Kara Saun's shoegate thing, I had really lost a lot of respect for her.

And as much tension as he might have caused, he tried lifting it to by being humorous and doing his Timpressions when asked. He also paid Daniel a compliment the night before the What's Your Line judging and said he liked his piece. This after Daniel blatantly told Santino he shouldn't be there.

But I digress...this is just my $.02.

Kathleen Bolton said...

Tim Gunn is being incredible generous to Santino. The guy should have been auf'ed long ago, if only for the turkey-inspired skating nightmare, and the other designers were right to give the guy the cold shoulder. What else can you do if you're stuck in a room with someone as incredibly obnoxious as him? And it's pretty clear that Santino knew he was teetering on the brink of being a joke and pulled himself back on OFW with a semi-tolerable collection.

Santino brought the animosity on himself. Most of America agrees.

Mercedes said...

I think much can be interpreted from this podcast. After reading his comments on the inspirations and more importantly the reactions to the dresses by the judges, I am, as much as I hate the idea, convinced that inadvertently Tim has hinted to a Santino win. If Daniel's inspiration for his dress got an underwhelming response by the judges then, then why would that reaction change when he put out his OFW line? We've all seen his collection and as much as we all love him we can agree that its simplicity makes it underwhelming at best. There's just nothing about his overall collection that takes your breath away. Chloe's on the other hand does takes your breath away in a sense that she sort of stray from his "simple lines" mantra and created something that I am still trying to figure out what she was thinking. But Santino, Santino's collection takes your breath away in that's NOT necessarily what you expected from him. I think everyone expected something gawdy. And let's face it based on that horrible golden dress there was nothing else to be expected. So, if this evening dress was the budding promise of their collection, it is clear he changed his tune in the months he took to put his collection together. So, the producers will sell his cleaner collection, the "fact" that he finally listened to the judges as a total redeeming action and make him seem more worthy of the win at the end. Meanwhile, Daniel will lose because he stayed the course and played it safe, and well, Chloe did what she did and that was that.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with summer and advisorgirl. I find Tim's anti-Santino sentiment, which has been evident all season, disturbing and unprofessional (as was his earlier favoritism of Emmett). While Tim is one of the selling points for the show, and I was quite a Tim fan last year, hearing his podcasts and remarks about the model Rachel to Nick have lessened my opinion of him considerably. His comments in this podcast increase my sympathy for what Santino faced and why he may have reacted poorly under the "marginalized" treatment he received by the other designers and by Tim himself. While I originally found Santino offensive, over the course of the show I have come to appreciate his creativity and energy, his honesty, how often his comments mirror opinions later expressed by the judges and Tim (he even has anticipated negative reaction to his own work more than most other designers), and in many ways his generosity to other designers. I thought his fashion week collection was beautiful but find reading this podcast distressing.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Tim is "Anti-Santino" at all. I have read recent quotes from him calling Santino "damn loveable" and whatnot. And it seems, at least to me, that he appreciated Santino's restraint in his OFW show. That's based on a few quotes I've read from him. Santino exasperates people. We know this. Doesn't mean Tim hates him or anything. I really don't think that's the case at all.

eric3000 said...

While I've come to like Santino, I certainly understand the criticism of him. I don't think Tim is showing a bias against Santino; he's both critical of him and complimentary depending on the situation. He says he loves all the designers and I think his concern for them all proves this. If he hated Santino he could just ignore him. While I don't think Santino really comes off that badly on the show and I sometimes think the other people overreact to his personality, if Tim says he's obnoxious I have no reason not to believe him.

Joanne said...

Did anyone else see the episode where Santino told the judges that Kara was bouncing around backstage, LOVING her glued together jumpsuit? Am I the only one who saw that?