Fate And The Bailey House Party

Feb 5, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With all due respect to Times Square, which is used to being regarded as the crossroads of the world, all roads meet on The Insider’s beat.

Last week, for example, a promotional event for Bravo’s “Top Design” and the announcement that “Project Runway’s” make-it-work man, Tim Gunn, is to become chief creative officer for the Liz Claiborne empire jigsawed perfectly with The Insider’s long-set plans to take note in this very column of the 19th annual Open Your Heart Auction benefit for Bailey House, which champions stable housing for HIV/AIDS patients.

Jonathan Adler, the designer who is “Top Design’s” top judge, is sharing honorary chairman duties of the Bailey House benefit with Mr. Gunn-“La Gunn,” Mr. Adler called him.

ABC News’ top spokesman Jeffrey Schneider and his partner, Jeffery Povero-“the two Jeffreys,” The Insider calls them-are the co-chairs of the event.

Mr. Povero is an architect at Robert AM Stern, the former employer of “Top Design” contestant Goil Amornvivat, who was half of the team that won last week’s first challenge-and established themselves as two of the most reasonable personalities in the bunch.

Bravo President Lauren Zalaznick knows The Insider has not gotten over Jeffrey Sebelia being declared the winner of last season’s “Project Runway.”

“I think a lot of New Yorkers are like that,” said Mr. Amornvivat. “I love Laura,” he said, identifying the architect-cocktail couturier who was pregnant with her umpteenth child during, and who clashed with Jeffrey right up to the end of, “Runway.”

Anyhoo … Mr. Adler’s personal design style is mixes “chic style and a spirit of happiness and all that. It’s a little bit different from being a judge in a competition where you have to dole out some tough love-which is not normally how I roll. I don’t think I’m mean. There may be some moments. But I just tried to be honest.”

Mr. Gunn, in a phone call after his grand new job was announced, left no doubt he is “thrilled and honored” to be part of the Bailey House auction. It’s a chance “to give back” at a time when he has so much to give. There’s the new professional challenge. And there’s his book, “Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style,” due out in May.

He said he’ll be back for another season, that there are “just some little fine-print things” still to be worked out. And there’s the fame “Runway” has bestowed on him. He gets accosted on the street by many people who echo The Insider’s sentiments about Jeffrey.

Ms. Zalaznick, with whom The Insider traded hair compliments and frustrations, was justifiably optimistic about “Design’s” drawing power. It drew 1.768 million total viewers Wednesday night, making it Bravo’s highest-rated series ever. “There’s a wit and a proverbial insouciance to the show and to this particular panel,” she said. “We feel great, and there are no harsher critics than ourselves of cookie-cutter items.”

Did we mention that Bravo is a supporter of the Bailey House Auction, which will be held Thursday night at the Puck Building in New York Cit?

“It’s actually a beautiful intersection because so much of our Bravo talent just naturally is associated with DIFFA and Bailey House, so we just came together. It was organic,” Ms. Zalaznick said.

And for the icing on this serendipity cake: Mr. Gunn is interviewed about wearable art in the current issue Quilting Arts magazine.