Tim Gunn Exclusive Interview: How He Makes NYC Work

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Tim Gunn is undeniably synonymous with fashion, thanks to his impressive repertoire. As the Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claiborne, co-host of Project Runway and author of A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, it’s more than safe to say that Gunn thrives on a busy schedule. So how does he ‘make it work’ and enjoy his fabulous Manhattan backyard? It’s simple: a Nespresso double espresso.

At a recent summer soirée hosted by Tim Gunn and Nespresso, Haute Living sat down with the famous fashion consultant and espresso aficionado for a one-on-one. When asked what he does in his free time in the city, Gunn laughed lightheartedly and replied with, “Free time?” He went on to explain that his full-time job with Liz Claiborne filled up his weekends with national events, not to mention his major role on Project Runway and his time-consuming book tours. Since his position at Liz Claiborne was reduced to a consultancy, Gunn’s schedule has loosened up a bit. “I just want three days in a row where I don’t have any obligations,” he confessed. “Such a thing doesn’t exist!”

When the style mogul is blessed with a few hours to spare, he walks; this Upper West sider especially enjoys a stroll to Riverside Park and Central Park. If he’s fortunate enough to have a free afternoon, he ventures to the Metropolitan Museum. “It’s sort of my sanctuary and I find it to be purging and cathartic,” he explained. “There are always fabulous things to see and it’s constantly inspiring.”

So where does a man with such good taste grab a bite to eat? Porter House on Columbus Circle. His go-to order? Steak. “I don’t buy meat. I will never have a steak at home. It’s like having a martini at home. It doesn’t taste the same as it tastes out,” he joked. “And I love going out for a steak. I don’t go out that often. Once a week at the most.” Gunn applauded the head chef Michael Lomanco for his food’s finesse.

If you don’t bump into him at The Met or Porter House, chances are you’ll find him at Barneys, Bergdorf’s, Saks or H&M while he peruses for his women’s fashion research. Gunn underscores the importance of looking “across a wide variety of brands and price ranges, just to see what people are doing.” But he means business when he’s buying. “You know, when I shop it’s like a surgical strike,” he quipped. “I know what I want, I get in, I get it, I get out.”

While prodding Gunn for his sartorial sagacity, we found out which celebrities he considers to be the best-dressed. “Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren and frankly, Sarah Jessica Parker,” he revealed. “I love celebrities off the red carpet. People who just know how to navigate the world day in and day out.”

Tim Gunn can’t power through a hectic day without some good old fashioned caffeine. “I have a plain Nespresso espresso. Just that little jolt,” he said. “I’m, in fact, quite a design snob. I’m very particular about what I bring into my home. It has to fit in and it has to have a certain resonance. What I love about the Nespresso machines is they have an elegance, they have a sophistication.”

When we asked Tim Gunn about a New Yorker’s essentials, he gave a surprising and refreshing answer: “Every New Yorker needs a nest, a safe haven. A place where they can close the door even if it’s just one more minute. Close the door and just feel that they can exhale and leave New York behind them in a way. Just be able to meditate upon their life and upon the world.”

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris

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