Tim Gunn Revitalized By Ralph's, Museums


“My impression of [Los Angeles] was lukewarm: a sprawling megalopolis where people spend inordinate amounts of time trapped in idling vehicles. What’s the appeal of that?”

[But] I fell in love with Los Angeles! I found it to be a cultural treasure chest, with fabulous museums, architecture, and entertainment. And the weather was so sunny and sublime that I actually began to long for a cloud to pass by. Furthermore, I embraced the city as a pedestrian and greatly respected the jaywalking enforcements, which I wish were in place in my dear home of New York, because it makes navigation so much safer and civilized. Finally, everyone should experience Ralph’s, a fabulous food emporium that’s unlike anything that we have here in New York. I shopped there every day. It was my therapy!

Tim Gunn is a man of many talents. For one, he’s a gleeful user of the word “celadon,” and a correct pronouncer of sturm und drang — but he’s also apparently a crack travel guide. I can’t argue with his suggestions for a night in Hong Kong (view the city from the Peak, cross the harbor to Kowloon, shop) other than to add, kit yourself out in a 1960s sheath and pretend you’re Maggie Cheung running around the city in the rain in In The Mood For Love at least once. Gunn’s got some stories — he extra-politely describes a Chinese herbal “medicinal gruel” offered for his cough in Kuala Lumpur as “odiferous” — and, I’ll bet, a tastefully-appointed apartment full of international treasures.

But if there’s one thing this USA Today article made me want to do, it’s ride the A train with Tim Gunn up to Fort Tryon Park to visit the Cloisters, the medieval art annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “I go there to depressurize and reenergize,” Gunn explains. I bet, under the terms of our imaginary museum-based friendship, he wouldn’t even mind dropping some knowledge about the history of medieval tapestry, or discussing iconoclasm and gardening in the herb patch — which, in an inspired touch on the part of the Met, actually contains living examples of all the plants depicted in the art inside. Tim and I would talk about all the other museums we like, and the differences in landscaping style between Frederick Law Olmstead and Frederick Law Olmstead Jr., and whether Washington was a good general or not, anyway. Then he’d impart to me a complete working knowledge of 20th century fashion history with a single nod. At last, as the sun was setting over the New Jersey palisades, we’d walk through the park back to the A station, and he’d farewell me on the downtown platform before disappearing, pouf, like a trim, silver-haired whirling dervish of taste.

No, the interview does not contain any new information about when, if ever, we are likely to see the already-taped Project Runway season six. I checked. But go to the Cloisters, or Hong Kong, anyway.

Traveling With The Stars: Tim Gunn [USA Today]

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