February 20, 2006 12:00 PM

1 That voice: coated in caramel, unironic and just a smidge nasal. Den father to the Project Runway contestants, Gunn could read aloud a box of Rice-A-Roni and make it sound like a manifesto for good design.

2 His calm in the face of the stressed-out, needle-wielding designers. Now, when my own deadlines loom, I hear his signature directive: “Okay, people, it’s make-it-work time!”

3 He’s the real deal. When he’s not wrangling his TV charges, Gunn is chair of fashion design at New York’s Parsons The New School for Design. So, if he says your lingerie line evokes “Park Avenue octogenarians,” you know it’s time to reach for the seam ripper.

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