All-Access Fashion Weekend ‘Makes it Work’ With Celebrity Guest Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn speaks to the crowd at this weekend's event. Photo by Zaid Hamid.

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What: The first annual All-Access Fashion weekend, headlined by Tim Gunn of Project Runway.

When: Thursday, September 17 through Saturday, September 19

Where: Tysons Galleria

Admission: Free, but a $100 purchase offered you an “exclusive holiday gift” and the chance to have a professional photograph taken with Tim Gunn.

Fashion Week may have ended in New York, but DC shoppers had no need to fear a dearth of fashion news—hundreds of budding fashionistas gathered over the weekend for the first annual All-Access Fashion weekend at Tysons Galleria, a three day binge-fest of shopping events, discussion panels, fashion shows, and sales to benefit YouthAIDS.

“Our goal is to bring the energy and fantasy of the fashion world to the Washington, DC metropolitan area to inspire and educate consumers while supporting a worthy cause,” said Kerem Kayserilioglu, general manager of Tysons Corner.

The weekend kicked off Thursday evening with a panel discussion entitled “Luxury: Reinventing the Dream – Economics, Trends, Technology,” moderated by leaders in the fashion, hotel, and public-relations industries.

Friday evening, a runway presentation moderated by model and Youth AIDS spokeswoman Frederique van der Wal showcased top fall fashions.

But the highlight of the weekend was a Saturday afternoon fashion show of Liz Claiborne brands emceed by Gunn himself.

Gunn, a Washington native, began with a slightly mangled but warm welcome to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah as well as a personal shout-out to his mother’s friends proudly clapping in the audience.

Throughout the hour-long show, Gunn commented on looks from Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Kenzie. While it was obvious that Gunn didn’t love all of the looks or the styling in the show, he gamely foraged on, offering zingy one-liners and fashion advice throughout.

We were offered a chance to question Gunn prior to the show, where we offered up our own host of questions for this sartorial savant.

In typical Gunn style, his responses were worthy of an article all their own.

On Obama’s fashion sense: “He wears a suit better than any president in my working memory. He has a sartorial elegance.”

His all-time best fashion advice: Look for clothes with “silhouette, proportion and fit–when they’re in balance, you look great.”

On the notion that you need deep pockets to look great: “That’s ridiculous! I’m all for budget shopping. The only thing you should buy to wear once is a wedding dress.”

What women need in their closets for fall ’09: A great dress that suits your lifestyle and a well-fitting jacket, blazer, or coat.

What’s next for Gunn? He’s writing a new book, tentatively titled Gunn’s Golden Rules, due out next year.

After the show, attendees were able to indulge in a brief question-and-answer period on subjects ranging from Gunn’s opinion of business-casual dress to the best way to elongate a short-waisted figure. But it was the final question that really brought the audience to their to feet:

“Tim, what’s the difference between a scarf and a man scarf ?” a man in business-casual dress asked from the center of the crowd.

“That it’s worn by a man!” says Tim, much to the audience’s amusement. (On his opinion of such an accessory: “It’s a . . . look.”)

“No, really, when Michael [Kors] and I were filming season seven of Project Runway, we were the only two men in the room not wearing some sort of man scarf.

“The most risk I ever take is a pocket square–I’ll lay my jacket down on the bed and tuck one in the pocket, thinking ‘huh, that looks good.’ Then I put the blazer on, look at myself in the mirror and think ‘Tim! Take that off! You look like an ass!”

The spell cast by the sartorial savant had been broken. He is, after all, only human.

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