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GUNN’S METTLE: Traditional newsroom wisdom holds that the best defense against a libel claim is the truth. It’s a lesson Tim Gunn, who is billing himself as something of a citizen journalist these days, is learning on the job. The “Project Runway” fixture and Liz Claiborne chief creative officer has been making the talk show rounds this week to chatter about “Gunn’s Golden Rules,” a manners guide-cum-memoir that tells of the questionable behavior he’s witnessed in his fashion career. The book — and one particular anecdote that involves Anna Wintour, five flights of stairs and a set of bodyguards employing a fireman’s lock to carry her down — has generated a fair amount of buzz thanks both to its incendiary subject matter and a well-plotted promo blitz.
“It’s reportage!” Gunn insisted to WWD with a characteristic touch of exasperation. “It’s about reporting what I see. I’m an observer.” He spoke by phone the morning after an appearance on “The Daily Show” in which he recounted the tale, and added that 4 Times Square would be “well-served by having lots of straitjackets around” for the people who work there, adding Condé Nast is not the typical publishing company. According to Gunn, Wintour sought a retraction after he first told the story to the New York Post, but backed off after an associate spoke to its veracity. (A Vogue spokeswoman offered a “no comment” to WWD.)
It would seem the book has also taught its author how to navigate the burning of a source. “I had friends and colleagues say, ‘You’ll never be invited to a dinner party again,’” Gunn said. “My response was ‘Hallelujah!’”
— Matthew Lynch