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Tim Gunn Behind the Seams: Tim Dishes on the Designers—and We Dish on Tim

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

In the ultimate first in a so called "Season of Firsts," Tim Gunn hosts Project Runway's first-ever, Behind the Seams episode, an overview of Season Nine combined with Tim's insider commentary. The mentor talks about his favorite episodes, (the pet store/unconventional materials challenge and the birds challenge) and his least favorites (the stilts and The Sheepdogs challenges). We agree on all of the above. The producers also allow Tim to finally come clean and admit to the show's viewers that there are decoy collections shown during each season's Fashion Week. He explains that it's done to keep the audiences and press from finding out who the finalists are in advance. Now that the truth is officially out there, we wonder if they'll show next season's contestants talking about it on camera. We're guessing not.

During this insider episode, Tim shares his complaints about the season. He feels that the designers overused their glue guns—like when Olivier actually glued part of an outfit onto a model's skin. Tim's also upset that so many designers sewed their models into their clothes at the last minute. He claims he wants to stop, or at least contain, both of these problems next season. If that's the case, Tim better start lobbying the producers to give the designers more time. If he needs signatures for a petition, he can consider this ours.

Mentor Tim, as always, is protective of his designers. He tells viewers who are "critical and judgmental of the show...You try it!," on behalf of those of us who might occasionally be the slightest bit critical or judgmental—if you show us bad clothing or bad behavior, we're going to be snarky. That said, we hear you, Tim. Hats off to all the designers, from all the seasons—we know we could never do it.

Interspersed throughout the episode are segments of Tim giving out awards to seven of the last eight cast members. For some reason Joshua M is not there. So we'll give him our own award, the, "Your Apology to Becky on After the Runway Sucked Award." Wait! That may be too critical and judgmental. Okay, make it the, "We Hope Your Absence Means That You Found a Good and Lucrative Design Job Award."

Here are Tim Gunn's Season Nine Project Runway Awards:

Kimberly: "Most Likely to Be Running Out of the Workroom at the Last Minute Award"

Anthony Ryan: "The Designer Who Was Most Cheated Out of a Win Award," for the birdseed dress.

Bert: "The Most Likely Designer to Ask the Most Questions About a Challenge Award"

Anya: "The Make it Work Award!" (This should be paired with "The Here's More Money From the Producers Award")

Laura: "The Best Decoy Collection For Season Nine Award"

Viktor and Olivier: Both get time management awards. Viktor's for "Excellence in Time Management" and Olivier's for "Not Even Having any Idea of What Time Management Is Award" (We'd add, "Or Any Idea What Breasts Are").

The episode ends with the designers "surprising" Tim with a reel of clips where they all gush about how much they love and appreciate him. They then give their now crying mentor "The Project Runway Season Nine Best Mentor Award." Normally, we'd roll our eyes over this kind of intense love fest for anyone on television. We'd wonder, "Are they really that nice, or is it just the editing?" But not in this case. Here's a real life Tim Gunn story that answers that question:

A few years back, when Project Runway first became big and Tim had just become a star, he judged and emceed a doggy fashion show outdoors at a Greenwich Village block party. This was not televised, nor covered by the press. It was just a few neighborhood dogs in homemade costumes, attempting to parade across a "runway" made from two very battered card tables. A few months later, we met Tim at a party celebrating his and Heidi's first cover for Entertainment Weekly. When we asked him why on earth he agreed to judge such a rinky-dink event, Tim enthusiastically responded, "Anything for the neighborhood!" (It turned out he lived near there). Then he gave us his card in case we ever needed anything. We weren't even writing about fashion back then, just neighbors and fans of the show. Needless to say, we too fell in love with Tim.

On a side note: We cap off every season of Project Runway with a review of that season—what we thought did and didn't work. We include The Top Ten of the Top Ten moments of Project Runway Greatness from that season. Look for this season's edition coming early next week!

· All Project Runway Posts [Racked]