Victorya Hong sends along this letter in response to Tim Gunn's interview from yesterday's Chicago Tribune:
I have to say that to respond to Tim's comments at all was a big dilemma for me. But your invitation to get my version out there was just too tempting, and I feel like I've been placed squarely in a position where I have no option but to do so. And let me tell you, it's hard to step into the ring with someone whose public persona is so liked, even when he's holding open those ropes. But it seems as if Tim initiates these verbal sparring battles with designers from past seasons, when it should all be over for us and we'retrying to make the best of the show. For all that he has said, that he wishes us well, that he really cares about us...hey, I've always thought that your deeds and work speak for themselves, beyond any words.
It's no secret that it's been extremely hard for me to take any of Tim's advice to heart, chiefly because I don't think he is qualified to give it. Tim was, for many years, the dean of Parsons,which is a fancy word for administrator. Does that automatically give him the credentials to assume the role of an arbiter of fashion? I can see how he might be capable of teaching say, fashion history, but design?
I do not mean to assert that he's completely unqualified. He seems to be exploring now what he is good at doing. I think he's very suited to educating women on how they should dress based on body proportions--because it's an almost formulaic approach. This dress will flatter your body because of x, y, and z. But again, that doesn't speak to design.
I am the type of person who, professionally, would prefer to work with someone who may not be the most likable, but really knows their stuff. I'm sure everyone has had a horror story about having to work with someone who is extremely nice, but completely incompetent. It's the absolute worst!
So this is where I think I went wrong. My assessment of Tim has always been strictly professional and it was never intended to be personal at all. But seeing his response now, I was a little startled by how caustic his words were, and how personally he's taken it. When you get riled up, of course your emotions will cloud your assessment. That's the only way that I can make sense of so many factual inaccuracies in what Tim has said. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that he's getting things wrong. But the ill-will in his words are so evident, I can only take it that he does not mean me well, and that can alarm anyone...even an ice princess!
The most lamentable thing of it all though, is that Tim feels as if he can speak about what I went through when Jack left the show. I've always thought that if anyone should speak about that whole experience, it's Jack. No one should have been more upset. It shouldn't be about me, about the show, about anything else. It should be about Jack.
Even now I ask myself, how do I want to remember this? How will I look back in 10 years time? Right now, I'm extremely grateful for all the things that have been happening since I've been on the show. But when things like this come up, it's hard not to let it sully the whole experience. It makes me want to just go live on another planet. Elisa's planet, right now, seems like a pretty darned great place to be!