Tim Gunn is best known as the on-air mentor to designers on the fashion reality show Project Runway.For more than two decades, he was a largely anonymous administrator and teacher at Parsons School for Design in New York.In 2007, he joined Liz Claiborne (now Kate Spade & Company) as its chief creative officer.
Born July 29, 1953 and brought up in Washington by a mother who helped found the library for the C.I.A. and a father who worked as an F.B.I. agent under J. Edgar Hoover, Timothy MacKenzie Gunn did not have an easy youth. Gunn attended the Corcoran College of Art and Design, receiving a BFA in sculpture.
According to a video Gunn created for the It Gets Better Project, he attempted suicide at the age of 17 by swallowing over 100 pills.Gunn, who is gay,was raised in an intensely homophobic household where homosexuals were viewed as predators.He denied his sexual orientation until his early 20s, and did not share it with his family until he came out to his sister when he was 29.
Gunn lives in Manhattan.In a 2006 interview with Instinct, Gunn stated that he had not been in a relationship since the early 1980s, following the abrupt end of a six-year relationship when his boyfriend cheated on him, and that he still loves his former partner, though they are not in contact.
Gunn is an outspoken critic of clothing designs using animal fur. In 2008, he narrated a video about rabbit fur farming in China for animal rights group PETA. He termed the treatment of animals used for fur as “egregiously irresponsible”.
Gunn got his start at Parsons New School for Design in 1982, after serving as director of admissions for the Corcoran. He first served as associate dean from 1989 to 2000 and later became department chair of Fashion Design in August 2000.
He joined Project Runway in 2004 during the show’s first season.He is known for his catchphrase “Make it work.” Gunn received a Primetime Emmy Award in 2013 for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program.His popularity on the show led to his own spin-off, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, on Bravo.This show ran for a total of 16 episodes over two seasons. Then starting in January 2014 Gunn was the host on a single 13–episode season of Lifetime’s Under the Gunn. Gunn is an executive producer for Project Runway: Junior. He is also the teen designers’ mentor.
In addition, Gunn left Parsons in 2007 and has been serving as the chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne, as of March 2007.On September 7, 2018, it was confirmed that Gunn, along with Heidi Klum would not be returning to Project Runway for a 17th season on Bravo as they both signed a deal to host a fashion competition show on Amazon Video.
He had an animation role on a Disney show; numerous guest appearances on hit television shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Gossip Girl” and “Ugly Betty”; red-carpet Oscar interviews with the likes of Helen Mirren; and a couple of invitations to the White House.
While on tour in Palm Springs, California, the nearby city of Palm Desert honored him with an official resolution declaring April 27, 2007 (the day of his visit) Timothy M. Gunn Day. He was also presented with a certificate by the city of Palm Springs and a plaque by the nearby city of Rancho Mirage in recognition of his career achievements.
Gunn, Tim; Moloney, Kate (2007), Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Gunn, Tim; Calhoun, Ada (September 2010), Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work, Gallery Books
Gunn, Tim (May 2011), Shaken, Not Stirred, Tim Gunn
Gunn, Tim; Calhoun, Ada (September 2012), Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet, Gallery Books
Gunn, Tim (March 2015), Tim Gunn: The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!, Gallery Books