Tim Gunn on "Project Runway" Season 12 Surprises, Spoilers and Saves

Posted Monday July 15, 2013 7:52 PM GMT
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Project Runway is switching things up for Season 12. For starters, the runway is anonymous. Instead of using cards that tell the judges who designed each look, the maker will remain a mystery until the points are tallied. Thus, the show has removed some major bias from the competition. (Why didn’t they think of that sooner?!)

Another big surprise was the “Runway Redemption,” where fans got to cast their vote for Kate, Ra’mon or Val to return to compete in the new season. The winner will be revealed in the first episode airing this Thursday (July 18) on Lifetime. While we love the twist, we can’t help but wonder if they'll be privy to unfair advantages. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to find out!

Last, but certainty not least, Tim Gunn get’s a big “save.” If (or when) he thinks a contestant deserves a second chance, he can save them from being voted off the show — something he’s attempted before, but until now, was unable to officially execute.

We caught up with the fashion guru to talk about his new role and what we can expect to unfold in this contentious season. Oh, and he spilled the deets on his “save.”

How does the designers’ anonymity change the game?
“I think it becomes rather critical because in past seasons, the judges have developed biases — who’s good and who isn’t,” said Gunn. Yet, as the season progresses, he admits it’s hard to remove all bias. “The designers’ point of view becomes more visible and the judges can guess who does what.”

In the past seasons, each designer worked with one model throughout the entire season. Will that have to change, too?
“The designers are eager to change their models because they don’t want to give away their look,” said Gunn. “So there’s a lot of model switching.”

READ: Whitney Port Talks Collabs, Cravings and Fashion

How is your new role different from the previous seasons?
“I have a new and very different engagement with the judges,” said Gunn. “In past seasons it’s been like separation of church and state — I wouldn’t interact with them at all.” This season, “I have my opportunity to have my day in court,” he said. For example, “I can tell them [the judges] what happened in the workroom … I love being able to share that dimension of information with them.”

You know Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia pretty well by now — can you predict what they’ll say about a certain look?
“I wish I could speak for the judges [but] I can’t,” he admitted. “I’m quite candid with the designers about that fact.” Why? “It’s so subjective … the judges can be all over the place,” he said. Instead, Gunn tells the contestants “every single look in this room could win, and every single look could go home.”

Okay… but you’ve watched so many designers come and go; you have to have some insight?
“Playing to the judges is a surefire lose,” he said bluntly. “You have to go into this fully believing this is you, your aesthetic, and the best you can do for this particular challenge.” If a designer gets cut because they tried to please a particular judge, “they’ll go home saying, ‘I knew I should have listened to my own voice.’”

Spoiler! Can you tell if you use your “save”?
“I do use it … and it’s not [at] the end of the season.”

Did you make the right decision?
“I don’t regret it remotely or ever thought I shouldn’t use it [then],” he said. “With the exception of this one case, I really agreed with the judges of who should go home.”

For more from Tim Gunn including his reaction to a very scandalous first episode, stay tuned to High Fashion Magazine.


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