“I’m overwhelmed!” Tim Gunn exclaimed when he arrived to Kate Spade in Soho on Fashion’s Night Out to judge a window-dressing contest and sign copies of his new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules. People began lining up at the store at 5:45 p.m. to see Gunn, and by the time he arrived just after eight, the line to meet him snaked through the entire store and back out the door. “I participated last year, but it was nothing like this,” Gunn noted. Ironically, the evening is the brainchild of Anna Wintour, whom Gunn has been talking very openly about over the past couple of weeks as he promotes his book. Gunn reiterated to us that the story about seeing her getting carried down the stairs by her bodyguards at a fashion show was true. “And the story wouldn’t be in the book if not for the aftermath of that little blurb being published — [Vogue] demanding a retraction, demanding an apology. Retraction? Apology? It’s true! I’m not going to do that. So it was the bullying and the refusing to accept responsibility for her behavior that brought her to the book,” Gunn said.
Why does he suppose the fashion industry breeds such divalike behavior? “I believe that it comes from the enablers around the individual who simply look the other way and permit this behavior to continue. If someone were to say from the onset, ‘You know, that’s probably not a good thing to do,’ perhaps an individual would stop doing it,” Gunn posited. “But when you have an individual around, you know, who goes, ‘There’s nothing wrong with this,’ it becomes very problematic.” We noted that the industry seems surprised by Gunn’s openness with this particular story, Wintour being one of the most respected and feared powers in fashion. “I have to say, what can she really do to me?” Gunn countered. “Not invite me to a Vogue event? I’m not invited to them now!”
But Gunn’s stories extend beyond Wintour and the stairs — the front row is a whole other enigma, after all. “It seems very high school to me,” Gunn said of the hyperstrict seating rules that forbid labels from seating rival magazine editors next to each other. “I mean, people should be adults and they shouldn’t be worried about all that,” he continued. “However, I have seen people act out” — and on more than one occasion.
As for those other front-row guests — the stupefying bloggers — Gunn doesn’t really follow them. “I have great respect for those who make themselves known and are responsible in their reporting. I have no respect for those who remain anonymous and just write a lot of nastiness,” he explained. What about Tavi, the 14-year-old blogging sensation? “I’m not particularly interested to know her point of view, to be perfectly honest.” Nor does he read the even more ubiquitous Bryan Boy. “I read New York Magazine — I’m a subscriber and have been for 28 years!” he exclaimed. “And I read the New York Times. If I were to start [reading blogs], I might become addicted, and I don’t want that to happen. I’m busy.”
Gunn will go to more shows this Fashion Week — Lincoln Center is on his agenda for tomorrow. “I’m crazy about it,” Gunn said of the new venue, where, he noted, perks include backstage areas that are twice as big as Bryant Park’s. He doesn’t buy that the location is inconvenient. “Oh, that’s ridiculous — it’s three subway stops, speaking of someone who takes the subway,” said Gunn, who says he takes the subway everywhere. So if you don’t see him at Fashion Week, look for him on the train.