For those of you who do watch “Under the Gunn,” well, you might be the only one. So far, the ratings for the “Project Runway” spinoff “aren’t that good,” Tim Gunn admitted as he took the stage with author and curator Valerie Steele at the Brooklyn Museum Thursday evening.
The mentor and Emmy Award-winning host went on to explain how “Under the Gunn” came about. Auditions for the 13th season of “Project Runway” had wrapped when news dropped that host Heidi Klum wouldn’t be available in the fall to tape the show. (She was taping “Germany’s Next Top Model.”)
Although a new Lifetime executive simply offered to replace Klum for the new season, Gunn immediately shot down the idea. “I asked [the executive], ‘Have you ever seen the show? Have you seen more than one episode?’ You can’t just show up without Heidi,” exclaimed Gunn. “She and I have a little pinky pact, which is we will not do the show without the other.”
And so “Under the Gunn” was born. The designers who auditioned were given full disclosure and the choice to either wait for the next taping of “Runway” or commit to the spinoff. Every designer chose the latter.
If you watched the third episode on Thursday, then you saw the newly formed designer teams compete in a runway challenge together — and the judges eliminate someone — for the first time. “After [the third episode] the show picks up momentum as we go,” said Gunn, who spent five weeks in Los Angeles to tape the show. “Sara [Rea, the executive producer] and I kept repeating to each other daily, ‘You can’t make this stuff up. You can’t make this stuff up,’” Gunn recalled. “And if anything, we have way too much content for a one-hour show. It’s a high-class problem but it’s also a matter of which story to tell. There’s so many.”
As for the rest of the evening’s conversation, we also learned that Gunn’s favorite decade for style is the ’60s (“‘Mad Men‘! Miniskirts! The clear vinyl dress!”), he doesn’t understand the appeal of French style (“I was bound and determined to find evidence anywhere that I could that would take that crown off of France.”), and he can’t stand red carpet fashion (“How is it, and why is it, that so many of these stars walking the red carpet get it wrong?”).
At least we know where Gunn won’t be during the Oscars.