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Making It Work (Part Two)

Yesterday we posted Out features editor Bill Keiths interview with Tim Gunn, which ran in the September issue of the magazine. Today we bring you exclusive outtakes from Keiths chat with Gunn in which the Project Runway mentor and host of the upcoming Tim Gunns Guide to Style, which premieres September 6 on Bravo, discusses being a father figure to the shows contestants and being out at work.

Bill Keith: Do you feel protective? I mean, with the judges? Tim Gunn: Yes. I want to shout at the judges, Leave my kids alone and Michael Kors, you design that dress in two days! I get very paternal.

But you cant really step in, I guess. TG: No.

You havent had any moments out of line, like, Michael Kors is trying to come up with something particularly catty to say and you cant say anything? TG: I cant say anything. I want to, believe me. And there are times when my heart is pounding so hard, and Im sweating profusely. I mean its hot in the room anyway, but its because Im so hot and bothered by whats being said. Im also careful to say to the designers, Look, its your decision. This is how Im responding to this work, but in the end its your decision what you do. And then if, for instance, the dress is shortened, and the judges are critical about it, then Im thinking, Oh, God, I should have never opened my mouth about shortening the skirt. Or I disagree with them [and think] You should have seen it when it was floor length. It was really dowdy and ugly. And looked like it was going to a nursing home and not to a red carpet. Because they dont know. They only know what they see. The only thing about the judges I do object to, and it happens infrequently, and it only happens with the guest designers, is when they sit there and tell you what they would have done. But you didnt do it. Or they say, Well, I wouldnt have had blue fabric; I would have used red. I dont believe in talking to the designers about things they cant change. Weve returned from shopping; they have blue fabric; make it work.

Have you largely lived as an out man professionally? TG: Yes, but I dont talk about it. If the topic comes up, Im quick and comfortable to say yeah. Theres some people in our group who are always saying Hey, Mary or Hey, sister. You know, you dont need to do all that. Frankly, that level of stuff makes me squirm and makes me uncomfortable. And its just, like, maybe thats who you are, but I dont want to be there.

That performative? TG: Yeah, yeah. Just being who you are. I cant take this away nor would I want to because it informs who I am.

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