Project Runway

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Tim Gunn Loves a Kitchen

Ten weeks later, Tim Gunn puts on his traveling shoes and heads first to Huntington, NY, which is apparently considered a suburb of New York City. Carol Hannah, he says, has moved there to complete her collection and be near New York. The thing is, she's moved into a HUGE house! I love it. Way to go big, CH. Apparently, this home belongs to a friend, and it is quite crazily spacious. She greets Tim at the door where he has arrived after having driven through what appears to have been a blizzard. The whole yard is covered in thick snow.

Carol Hannah says she felt like she could be more productive in NY than in Charleston, and takes Tim upstairs to a huge room where her collection is laid out. She explains that her inspiration for the whole thing came from a visit to none other than Duke University, where her friend works and gave her a late-night tour of the campus. That seems kind of random, but cool -- it is a gorgeous place, especially at night. The chapel will blow your mind. The architecture and the ethereal light made her visit "kind of whimsical and fairy tale," she says, and this inspired her to create, for one, a silvery-lavender satin, tiered poof dress that, believe me, is cuter than it sounds. It is not, however, in need of a spangled belt, which she had planned to include. "Can I be blunt with you?" Tim asks. "I'm not in favor of it." He says the dress will lose its sophistication by adding the belt -- he's right, it looks like something my mom would buy from Chico's -- and CH agrees. "You know me," she laughs. "I like to add things." Tim says he knows she does, but she must refrain. She's also made what looks like a stunning deep purple evening gown, and covered it with an old lady cape. "You've aged her 30 years!" Tim says, aghast, and it's so true. Less is more, CH.

Carol Hannah feels like she has pushed the envelope a bit with this collection, and Tim agrees. "I have made PANTS," she announces to his surprise, and mine. I can get down with that, though tragically she has also made a pair of formal shorts, clearly never having read the extensively detailed and sage wisdom on such garments provided, for free, for the benefit of all, by the Fug Girls. Shorts or not, most of her pieces, even the casual ones, she says, have "a little bit of evening flair."

She acknowledges that she has a lot of work left to do. "It's going to be..." she says, pausing, looking for just the right word, "tough." Hee. Yes, well, I guess that about covers it. She "surprises" Tim by telling him that her family has flown in to meet him and that they will be cooking him a traditional Southern meal. "Oh, that's great!" he says, and I believe him, though I cannot imagine Tim Gunn enjoying fatback in any scenario. However, he is a man whose manners are as impeccable as his hair, and I salute him for it. Even when he is charged with lending a hand in the kitchen, he is thrilled. "I love a kitchen!" he says, and heads downstairs to don an apron OVER HIS SUIT. I die, seriously. He does not even take his jacket off or roll up his sleeves. Love. What an absolutely loveable man. He rolls dough and cuts biscuits with the best of them. "If they bomb, it's going to be your fault," CH's mom says. I don't know if y'all have ever made biscuits, but it can be fraught, let me tell you. There is a touch that is required, and getting it wrong is grounds for a telling-off in some households (mine). I had to give up eating gluten this year, and the only thing that really gets to me is the biscuits. I can forgo cupcakes, bread, crackers, BEER (sob!), but when I am visiting my mother and she makes biscuits for breakfast, I have to leave the house.

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Project Runway

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