“Project Runway” host Tim Gunn slammed season 14 winner Ashley Nell Tipton’s clothes as “hideous,” and he wouldn’t “dream of letting any woman […] wear them.”
“I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal panties; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout ‘prom,’” he wrote in a column for the Washington Post.
Gunn wrote the column chastising American designers for focusing too much attention on skinny women, while noting that his own show’s first winner won as the result of what he called tokenism.
“Her victory reeked of tokenism,” he added. “One judge told me that she was ‘voting for the symbol’ and that these were clothes for a ‘certain population.’ I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them.”
In the past, Gunn has criticized the contestants of season 14, saying he “hated” the previous season because he felt that some of the designers weren’t pushing themselves. Tipton responded, “I don’t think I’m one of those designers he was talking about. I just kind of have to let that be, and just focus on that what I did is groundbreaking and I won ‘Project Runway.’”
In terms of criticism on social media that Tipton only won because her collection was for plus-size models, she had said, “It doesn’t sit right with me that people are saying that. It hurts because it shows that they’re not accepting to plus-size. That’s basically what it is. They don’t approve of it.”
In Gunn’s article, he mentioned that there are 100 million plus-size women in America, yet designers “dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.” Designers he had spoken to about the issue told him that they don’t want plus-size women wearing their clothes.
And Gunn acknowledged his own shortcomings: “‘Project Runway,’ the design competition show on which I’m a mentor, has not been a leader on this issue. Every season we have the ‘real women’ challenge (a title I hate), in which the designers create looks for non-models. The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.”
Gunn is a fashion consultant, TV personality and producer of the reality hit “Project Runway,” whose popularity led to two spin-off shows, “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style” and “Under the Gunn.”
In response, Tipson said, “I am a firm believer in allowing people to think what they want. Their opinion of me is ‘none of my business.’ I don’t need his approval — my message is one of self acceptance and it has taking me a while to love me, after a lifetime of being bullied it’s nice to live ‘here.’”