This Thursday's episode of Project Runway is to feature the always wonderful Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the panel's guest judge — and he's bringing along his organization, Tie the Knot. Tyler Ferguson and his new husband Justin Mikita (congrats!)'s http://tietheknot.org/ Tie the Knot combines style and advocacy seamlessly; the couple releases a collection of neckwear seasonally, and all proceeds from the sale of bow ties go to various organizations that support the fight for the civil rights of gay and lesbian Americans. Looking good and doing good? Can't get much better than that. We chatted with the Modern Family actor yesterday on all things artistry, his dream designer, and of course, those signature bow ties. Tune in to Project Runway tomorrow, Aug. 8, at 9 p.m. on Lifetime!
Marie Claire: We really appreciate all of your critiques on So You Think You Can Dance when you're a guest judge and that you're such a Renaissance man. So, how did your opinion on art forms like fashion, dance, and film, of course, affect your critiques on Runway?
Jesse Tyler Ferguson: Well, it was interesting because when I was done with the episode of Runway, I wasn't terribly funny but then again, I wasn't meant to be. That's not what the challenge for me was. It was to speak intelligently about the fashion world and about how they used incorporated our bows into the challenges.
And this bow tie line that I have created is my first foray into the fashion world, so I have not been around that world for an incredibly long time. There was certainly more knowledgeable people on the set than I. And the same is true with So You Think You Can Dance — for anything ballroom related, I just look to Mary [Murphy] to see her face so I could say, "Well, what did we think about it? Because your opinion is my opinion because I really cannot critique that."
But one of the main reasons I enjoy doing these shows is because I do have an interest in both dance and fashion, but also I love pop culture and I just adore these shows so much. I pinch myself when I'm on them because I'm really, truly, first and foremost a huge fan of the shows and I can't believe that I get to sit in those chairs and actually get to sit in on some of my favorites shows on television.
MC: Obviously you're a huge bow tie fan and you've had your first foray into designing now. If you could collaborate with any designer living or dead, who would it be?
JTF: Oh wow, gosh. Well, Patricia Fields — let's just go with her because I think she'd be really awesome especially with what we do. I think that's the one that I've always kind of dreamed of. If I ever got to work with her, that will be an amazingly brilliant thing.
Let me think who else. McQueen, of course, you know, would have been amazing. I love those people that just really push fashion forward and really are edgy and bold where never in a million years would anyone say, "Oh, well, I actually I could take elements of that and like bring them to my wardrobe." It's something that I feel should be inspirational. I don't think you have to aspire to want to that crazy look on a runway, but you should definitely be able to draw from it. I feel like the people who really inspire me and who really get juices flowing and get the brain really churning are people who just put stuff out that is so insanely crazy and weird and beautiful. And it's those bold movements that really inspire further growth. I'm definitely inspired by those types of artists.
Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime