In Brief: Object Lessons, Trash-Talking Tim Gunn Offers ‘Golden Rules’

  • William Shatner‘s Charmingly. Halting. Conversational. Style! A life-saving peanut paste! A look at Deepak Chopra‘s taste in sneakers. There’s something for everyone in the latest issue of The New York Times Magazine, but we wanted to call your attention to Rob Walker‘s latest “Consumed” column, in which he follows the story of stuff to its ultimate conclusion: letting stuff tell its own stories. Walker reviews a number of initiatives that seek to give a voice to objects (a chair, a doll, that ashtray you “borrowed” from the storied hotel) through their owners’ and creators’ personal stories. Minneapolis-based Itizen, for example, uses a tell-and-tag approach that puts a narrative twist on the bar code. Designers take note: “…some Itizen users have been employing the service to tell stories of object creation—a clothing designer, a bike messenger-bag maker, and others are attaching to things the story of how they were made or by whom,” notes Walker. “The ArtCrank Poster Show in Portland, Ore., next month, for instance, will have Itizen tags on the various bicycle-themed artworks sold there. The next narrative twist would be, more or less, a customer buying the thing.”
  • Also talking up a storm is the fabulous Tim Gunn, whose new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work (Simon & Schuter), is out just in time for tommorrow’s kickoff of New York fashion week. The Project Runway mentor seems to have deserted his decorum in this, his second book, as he trash-talks the likes of his Liz Claiborne comrade Isaac Mizrahi (“one of the world’s biggest divas”) and Padma Lakshmi (“a certain glamorous host of Top Chef….[who] was once married to a world-famous novelist” asked Gunn for a favor, he obliged, and then she failed to follow through). Thankfully, waging ad hominem attacks on Bravo-lebrities hasn’t robbed him of his flair for sartorial and lifestyle advice. “Some people think of dressing up or being polite as a burden. They think having to wear a tie or use the right fork or send a thank-you card is a kind of shackle,” Gunn writes in Marie Claire. “To these people I say: Getting out of bed is a shackle. If you feel that way, stay in it! Invest in a hospital gurney and wheel yourself around on it when you need to go out.”